Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 280-284

Carbon monoxide poisoning in Beirut, Lebanon: Patient's characteristics and exposure sources

1 Department of Emergency, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
2 Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mazen J El Sayed
Department of Emergency, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.142762

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Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a preventable disease. Patients present with nonspecific symptoms post CO exposure. Causal factors are well described in developed countries, but less in developing countries. Objectives: This study examined the characteristics of patients with CO poisoning treated at a tertiary care center in Beirut, Lebanon, and their association with the CO poisoning source. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review of all patients who presented to the Emergency Department (ED) of the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) over 4-year period and for whom a carboxyhemoglobin (CO-Hb) level was available. Patients with CO poisoning diagnosis were included in the study. Patients' characteristics and their association with CO poisoning source were described. Results: Twenty-seven patients were treated for CO poisoning during the study period, 55% of whom were males. Headache was the most common presenting symptom (51.9%). Burning charcoal indoors was the most common causal factor (44.4%), whereas fire-related smoke was another causal factor. The median arterial CO-Hb level on presentation for all cases was 12.0% (interquartile range (IQR) 7.3-20.2). All patients received normobaric oxygen therapy. No complications were documented in the ED. All patients were discharged from the ED with a median ED length of stay of 255 min (IQR 210-270). Young females were more likely to present with CO poisoning from burning charcoal indoors than from another cause. Conclusion: CO poisoning in Beirut, Lebanon is mainly due to charcoal burning grills used indoors and to fire-related smoke. A clinically significant association was present between gender and CO poisoning source. An opportunity for prevention is present in terms of education and increased awareness regarding CO emission sources.

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