Carbon Monoxide Headquarters

Acute CO Poisoning:

High Rate of Misdiagnosis of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

Study Title:
Carbon monoxide poisoning, a diagnosis frequently overlooked

Barret, L., Danel, V., Faure, J.


Clinical Toxicology, 23 (4), pgs. 309-313.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a common source of poisoning, yet the diagnosis is often overlooked. A study was undertaken to establish the true incidence of missed diagnosis and to assess retrospectively the effects of a campaign of public medical information on this subject. The wrong diagnoses reflected all the unusual clinical presentations that CO could produce. The high initial rate of wrong diagnoses (30% in 1975-1977) was reduced following the campaign (12% in 1978 and 5% in 1980) despite a considerable increase in the rate of admission to hospital of confirmed CO poisoning cases.

Location of Authors:
Grenoble, France

Note: - Some unpublished studies on this subject have found rates of misdiagnosis of CO poisoning by physicians of up to 100% (ie. ALL the cases were missed - judged to be due to something else).

Why not Better Recognized by the Medical Profession?

Common Misdiagnoses

...... last changed 10/10/01

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