Risk Management Pitfalls In The Management Of Carbon Monoxide Exposure
“I found a COHb level of 27% in my obtunded 17-year-old patient who was trying to fix a boat motor in his garage. I am consulting the hyperbaric medicine facility. This seemed like a straightforward case of CO poisoning, so I didn't consider any other testing.”
While this patient has a history and symptoms consistent with severe CO poisoning, emergency clinicians must always remain vigilant for co-intoxicants and comorbidities. Even without evidence of trauma on examination, a head CT may be warranted in patients with altered mental status, as trauma may cause or result from severe CO poisoning. Intoxication from other drugs of abuse can also be a precipitant to a situation of CO poisoning. Patients with severe CO poisoning warrant a full trauma evaluation and screening for drugs of abuse.
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