Carbon monoxide poisoning: a comprehensive review for prehospital specialists
Friday, February 3, 2012
As one of the leading causes of poisonings worldwide, it is imperative that prehospital specialists are aware of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and its management. Awareness of the epidemiology, and the common presentations of CO poisoning may lead to prompt evaluation and early initiation of life-saving therapy. Children under 5 years of age have the highest incidence of CO-related ER visits and are at greatest risk of CO toxicity. The clinical features are nonspecific and misdiagnoses are common. Therefore, prehospital providers should have a high index of suspicion for CO intoxication in patients that experience headache, vomiting, or altered level of consciousness following exposure to hydrocarbon combustion within an enclosed space. A carboxyhaemoglobin level is a quick and reliable way to diagnose CO exposure. To prevent complications such as altered cerebellar function, seizures, rhabdomyolysis and dysrhythmias, early recognition and treatment is imperative. Removal from the source of exposure and the provision of 100% oxygen form the cornerstone of management. Preventive strategies should also be explored in susceptible populations.
Subscribe to get full access to the Journal of Paramedic Practice
Thank you for vising the Journal of Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.
Reading the Journal of Paramedic Practice counts towards your professional development
Develop your career
We provide professional information dedicated to paramedics covering training, education and jobs
Get the latest clinical information to ensure you are aware of the latest think and best practice in paramedicne
Already registered? - Sign in here