Screening and management of unintentional low-level carbon monoxide exposure in the emergency department
evidence and practice    

Screening and management of unintentional low-level carbon monoxide exposure in the emergency department

Maria Cappelletto Staff Nurse, emergency department, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Heather Jarman Nurse Consultant and Clinical Academic Lead, emergency department, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the effects of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide

  • To learn about the signs and symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide exposure

  • To be able to effectively distinguish between low-level carbon monoxide exposure and conditions with similar presentations

Unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, sometimes referred to as CO poisoning, is a serious threat to health and can have long-term effects on the neurological and respiratory systems. Patients who have been exposed can present to emergency departments (ED) with non-specific signs and symptoms, which makes it challenging to diagnose. This article describes the pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, and ED management of patients with possible or confirmed low-level CO exposure. It is important for emergency nurses to recognise patients with unintentional CO exposure so that treatment is provided and measures taken to prevent further exposure.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2077

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

maria.cappelletto.5@gmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Cappelletto M, Jarman H (2021) Screening and management of unintentional low-level carbon monoxide exposure in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2077

Published online: 13 April 2021

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