Remember 'a posteriori diagnosis' of carbon monoxide poisoning

Eur J Emerg Med. 2005 Oct;12(5):259-60. doi: 10.1097/00063110-200510000-00015.


Objectives: To raise awareness of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning as a diagnosis in the emergency department and to present the little known fact that it is possible to diagnose carbon monoxide poisoning retrospectively.

Method: Presentation of a case report, review of the literature.

Results: Persistence of elevated carboxyhaemoglobin levels in a stored vacutainer blood sample.

Conclusion: Carbon monoxide poisoning is common but often goes unrecognized. This method may help to decrease the number of overlooked cases and thereby possibly prevent further exposure and acute or chronic sequelae.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Carboxyhemoglobin