Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning
Poisoning with carbon monoxide, a tasteless odorless gas that is a byproduct of combustion. Carbon monoxide acts as a poison by competing with oxygen for binding sites on hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the more remote tissues of the body and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Carbon monoxide poisoning may be more common than is currently recognized. It is conservatively estimated that in the US there are at least 200 deaths per year from carbon monoxide poisoning. The tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis died when his Long Island cottage was filled with carbon monoxide from a swimming pool heater in 1994. In 2000 a man who disconnected his household carbon monoxide detector because it kept going off for no apparent reason came home to find six people — including three family members — dead of fumes from the furnace. Patients may have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning but be unaware of the basis of their symptoms. The early symptoms are quite nonspecific and hard to put your finger on the cause. They include prolonged headache and nausea. Advanced exposure to carbon monoxide results in cardiovascular collapse, coma, and death.

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poisoning due to the inhalation of carbon monoxide and the resulting change of oxyhemoglobin to carboxyhemoglobin (see carboxyhemoglobinemia); it may result in tissue hypoxia, cellular anoxia, damage to the central nervous system, and death.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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