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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, nonirritating gas.
  • Binds to hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin:
    • Decreases O2-carrying capacity
  • Direct cellular toxin
  • Impairs cellular O2 utilization


  • Endogenous:
    • Result of normal metabolism
  • Incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fossil fuel:
    • Internal combustion engines
    • Natural gas
    • Heaters
    • Indoor grills
    • Fireplaces
    • Furnaces
    • Accidental fires
    • Tobacco smoke
  • Methylene chloride:
    • Found in some solvents for paint removal and furniture stripping
    • Converted in vivo to CO after exposure
    • Peak carboxyhemoglobin levels delayed after exposure
    • Half-life is ∼2 times that of inhaled CO

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Carbon Monoxide Poisoning." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307495/all/Carbon_Monoxide_Poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307495/all/Carbon_Monoxide_Poisoning. Accessed April 25, 2019.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307495/all/Carbon_Monoxide_Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 25]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307495/all/Carbon_Monoxide_Poisoning.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning ID - 307495 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307495/all/Carbon_Monoxide_Poisoning PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -