Carbon Monoxide Headquarters

Chronic CO Poisoning:

Why is Chronic CO Poisoning not Better Recognized by the Medical Profession?

  • Lack of training in toxicology, myopic thinking by physicians, ---> shockingly high rate of misdiagnosis.

  • Too many disparate, seemingly unrelated, multi-system involved, and often non-specific symptoms. Physicians become confused.

  • The taking of incomplete situational histories.

  • Presentation in ERs appears not to require emergency measures.

  • Low (or zero) index of suspicion for CO poisoning by physicians.

  • Use of less than best, even irrelevant clinical tests for CO, unless goal is R/O (ie. rule out).

  • COHb is NOT routinely measured in the ER.

    Note: Much of the damage that occurs in CO poisoning, especially in chronic CO poisoning, does not lie within the medical realm. That that does not can best (or, only) be diagnosed and quantitated by neuropsychologists and specialized toxicologists.

    ...... last changed 04/27/04

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