Neuropsychological Outcome After Carbon Monoxide Exposure Following a Storm: A Case-Control Study

Bérengère Pages; Mélanie Planton; Sophie Buys; Béatrice Lemesle; Philippe Birmes; Emmanuel Joseph Barbeau; Stéphanie Maziero; Laurie Cordier; Claudine Cabot; Michèle Puel; Michèle Genestal; François Chollet; Jérémie Pariente


BMC Neurol. 2014;14(153) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: The cognitive consequences of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are well described. However, most studies have been carried out without an ad-hoc group of control subjects. The main aim of this study was to evaluate cognitive and psychiatric outcome after CO exposure during the storm Klaus in the South West of France (January 2009) in a homogeneous group of patients compared to a group of 1:1 paired controls.

Methods: Patients and controls were asked to fill out questionnaires about quality of life and cognitive complaints. They then underwent a cognitive assessment derived from the Carbon Monoxide Neuropsychological Screening Battery. Psychiatric assessment was performed using subtests of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.

Results: 38 patients and 38 paired controls were included (mean age 38.8 years) and evaluated 51 days after the poisoning. No difference was found between groups on the cognitive complaint questionnaire but patients had a lower quality of life than controls. Patients showed significantly lower cognitive performance than controls on processing speed, mental flexibility, inhibition and working and verbal episodic memories. Patients were more depressed than controls, and suffered more from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Conclusions We report the first study investigating cognitive and psychiatric outcome in consecutive patients after CO poisoning during a natural disaster, using a group comparison method. CO poisoning during storms needs to be dealt with adequately and clinicians should be aware of its possible consequences.