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Slovenska pediatrija 2013; 20: 7-11


Review article

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Z. Korošec Noč
Osnovno zdravstvo Gorenjske, Zdravstveni dom Jesenice, Jesenice, Slovenija

J. Bošnjak
Zdravstveni dom Novo mesto, Novo mesto, Slovenija

Abstract

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most frequent accidental poisoning, which is usually caused by poor maintenance or installation of heaters in enclosed spaces. CO causes tissue hypoxia and degradation by many pathophysiological mechanisms. Symptoms and signs are a direct consequence of the poisoning. In milder poisoning, patients experience drowsiness, headache nausea and fatigue. In more severe poisoning, the symptoms are severe headache, nausea, vomiting, neurological disturbances, heart rhythm disturbancesand myocardial ischaemia. In children, the signs are even more non-specic and hidden. Chronic poisoning and late neurological sequelae are also possible. It is important to immediately remove people from the dangerous area and transport them to hospital for diagnostic work-up and observation. The treatment of choice is 100 % oxygen, while more severe poisoning is treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In Slovenia, this is available through the Poisons Centre, University Clinical Centre Ljubljana, which has on-call toxicologists and engineers. Public education on the dangers of CO poisoning and measures for its prevention is important.

Key words: Carbon monoxide, poisoning, hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


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