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Normal carboxyhaemoglobin level in carbon monoxide poisoning treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy


Throughout the world both intentional and inadvertent exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) remains an important public health issue. While CO poisoning can be lethal, the morbidity is predominantly due to nervous system injury. A previously healthy 22-year-old woman was found unconscious at home by her sister. Her parents were found dead in the house with a recent history of a dysfunctional furnace. She was presumed to have CO poisoning despite an initial carboxyhaemoglobin level of 2.5%. Patient had both clinical and radiological evidence of neurological damage. However, with multiple sessions of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy she recovered to a near normal functional status. There is no consensus that exists among treating physicians about the role of hyperbaric oxygen in management of neurological injury. The case described here has significant neurological damage related to CO exposure but improved after HBO therapy.

  • poisoning
  • adult intensive care
  • stroke
  • toxicology

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