PloS one 2017 03 2812(3) e0174672 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0174672
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a major concern in industrialized countries. Each year, thousands of victims, resulting in approximately 100 fatalities, are encountered in France. The diagnosis of CO poisoning is challenging; while carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) may be useful, it is a weak indicator of the severity of CO poisoning. This weak indicator may be a result of the delay between poisoning occurrence and the blood assay. Two apparatuses, CO oximeters and exhaled CO analyzers, now permit COHb to be determined outside hospitals. Our hypothesis is that these instruments allow the early measurement of COHb concentrations, which are more correlated with the severity of poisoning, expressed using the poisoning severity score (PSS).
In an observational and retrospective cohort study, the distribution of COHb measurements obtained by CO oximetry or by exhaled CO analyzers was compared between groups of severity expressed using the PSS.
Data were collected in the Paris area from January 2006 to December 2010 by the French Surveillance System of CO poisoning.
All patients with CO poisoning reported to the French Surveillance System of CO poisoning.
There was a significant difference in the COHb values obtained by CO oximetry between groups stratified according to PSS (p<0.0001). A significant difference in the values of exhaled CO was also observed between PSS groups (p = 0.006), although the relationship was not linear. CONCLUSIONS
The COHb concentrations measured using CO oximetry, but not those measured using exhaled CO analyzers, were well correlated with the severity of CO poisoning.