Clinical Characteristics of Pediatric Patients With Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a common and deadly form of poisoning that is often treated with hyperbaric oxygen. The characteristics of children exposed to CO and then treated with hyperbaric oxygen have not been delineated. The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical characteristics of children treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for CO poisoning at a regional hyperbaric referral center.


The study is based on a retrospective review of data extracted from the medical records of children (age <19 years) who were referred to our center for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for CO poisoning between 2008 and 2013. Inferential analyses were used to compare demographic characteristics, serum carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels, and presenting symptoms.


Forty-seven children met our study criteria. Their mean age was 8.9 years, and their mean COHb level was 14.3% (range, 3.4%-30.1%). Severity of symptoms did not correlate with serum COHb levels; however, neurologic symptoms at presentation were more common in patients with a COHb level greater than 25%. There was a correlation between increasing age and higher COHb levels and between COHb and lactate levels.


Our retrospective review of patients’ records showed no correlation of serum COHb levels with symptoms on presentation; however, a correlation was found between increasing age and COHb level as well as lactate level and COHb level.

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