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New Opportunity To Detect Early Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Armen Hareyan's picture

Early Carbo Monoxide Poisoning

Smoking cessation clinics provide a new opportunity to detect early carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Results from routine carbon monoxide (CO) testing in the breath of people attending such clinics or GP support services can alert healthcare professionals to patients who are suffering from chronic, low-level CO poisoning.

A recent incident at a smoking cessation clinic in Surrey alerted the HPA to this opportunity when a patient attending the clinic continued to have high levels of CO in their exhaled breath, even after they had stopped smoking. Further investigation led to the discovery that the patient was being exposed to low levels of CO in their home due to a faulty gas appliance. This case highlighted an extra opportunity to detect CO exposure in the home.

Chronic exposure to levels of CO which do not produce immediately recognisable adverse effects, can nonetheless harm health. If a patient is found to have higher than expected levels of CO in their exhaled breath sample, the Agency suggests the following steps should be taken by healthcare professionals: