Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Organs Damaged by CO and the Pathological Lesions:

Brain Acutely: Blood stasis, Cerebral edema, Elevated CSF pressure, Hemorrhages
. Chronically: Diffuse cell death in many parts of brain; necrotic lesions in basal ganglia, hippocampus, cerebellum (areas of water-shed drainages); peripheral demyelination
Heart Acutely: Myocardial injury and necrosis
. Chronically: Myocardial infarcts
Lungs Primary: Pulmonary edema, congestion
. Secondary: Aspiration pneumonia in comatose patients
Eye Retinal hemorrhages
Ear Death of cells in the inner ear and cochlea
Liver & G.I. Tract Lobar hepatic necrosis with chronic repeated exposure (rare)
Kidney Acutely: failure due to myoglobinuria, usually self-corrective
. Chronically: parenchymatous degeneration leading to necrosis (rare)
Skeletal Muscle Intramuscular hemorrhages, swelling, rhabdomyolysis, compartment syndrome
Bone Marrow hypertrophy in chronic CO-hypoxia, leading to polycythemia
Skin Erythema, blisters, and gangrene (latter is rare)

Note: The above mainly applies to higher level, acute CO exposure.

for Graphic on CO-induced Organ Damage

.......... Last changed 03/20/02

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