Carbon Monoxide Headquarters




Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Diagnostic Tests that may be Useful in CO Poisoning:

  • Carboxyhemoglobin Saturation

  • other Arterial blood gases and pH ..... (WARNING - Pulse Oximeter should not be used to determine oxygen saturation!)

  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) (if there is an alteration of conscious state)

  • Complete blood count (usually not of much value)

  • Serum glucose and lactic acid concentration

  • Serum electrolytes, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine concentrations (usually not of much value)

  • Urine analysis (usually not of much value)

  • Electrocardiogram and echocardiogram

  • Chest X-ray (usually not of much value)


  • Serum creatine phosphokinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities

  • Serum aspartate and alanine transferase (SGOT, SGPT) activities

  • Serum myoglobin concentration

  • Neuropsychologic screening test

  • Drug screening

  • Electroencephalogram.

  • CT (cerebral computed tomography) and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

  • SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography), or MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy) scans.


    Note: With the exception of neuropsychological evaluation, most of the above tests are usually only of value in acute, higher-level CO poisoning. In such instances, the first eight tests should be done as quickly as possible after presentation. For more on diagnostic testing, especially in chronic CO poisoning, CONSULT THE WEBMASTER. Prior to having neuropsychologic testing done, CONSULT THE WEBMASTER.


    ...... last changed 01/02/02



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