Acute carbon monoxide poisoning


Occurs less frequently in Switzerland than in other countries (3 cases for 1,000,000 inhabitants) . The reason is probably that our heating systems and their maintenance guidelines are different. CO poisoning occurs much more at suicide with car exhaust .


CO is a noxious gas that arises from an incomplete fire. CO is colorless, odorless and lighter than the air and can easily pass through room walls. It displaces the inhaled oxygen from the red blood cells because it binds better to the hemoglobin. The result is a kind of « suffocation » that primarily affects the brain. It starts with headache, dizziness and ends quickly in the coma if the intoxication is severe. The patient dies if nothing is done. Il a été récemment démontré que ces patients ont un risque accru d’accident vasculaire cérébral .

Treatment goal

Rapid oxygenation so that the red blood cells can bring oxygen back into the brain and definitive brain damage is avoided .

Clinical trials

In principle, oxygen is administered with a tight face mask in the ambulance, then in the hospital for hours. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the oxygen can be released in larger quantities and thus more late damage avoided. However, the results of various studies are contradictory and the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy around the world varies from one country to another .

Practical use of the HBO

Treatment is carried out in an emergency. There will be 3 sessions of 2 hours each in the first 24 hours after hospital admission .

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