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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Uploaded on Mar 20, 2009

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carboxyhaemoglobin
As the current generation of oxygen saturation machines only use two diodes they are unable to
compensate for the presence of carboxyhaemoglobin. This means the saturation
readouts may be inaccurate in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Even
relatively small amounts of carboxyhaemoglobin in the blood can cause an
oximeter to overestimate oxygen saturation. In fact carbon monoxide in the
blood can give rise to erroneous readings of 100% oxygen saturations. This is a
dangerous situation as it gives a false sense of security. This information must
be remembered when caring for patients who have been in smoky environments.
This is clearly the case with many burns victims. Smokers and people who work
in traffic fumes may also give falsely high SpO2 readings.

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