Occult carbon monoxide poisoning

West J Med. 1987 Jan;146(1):52-6.

Abstract

A syndrome of headache, fatigue, dizziness, paresthesias, chest pain, palpitations and visual disturbances was associated with chronic occult carbon monoxide exposure in 26 patients in a primary care setting. A causal association was supported by finding a source of carbon monoxide in a patient's home, workplace or vehicle; results of screening tests that ruled out other illnesses; an abnormally high carboxyhemoglobin level in 11 of 14 patients tested, and abatement or resolution of symptoms when the source of carbon monoxide was removed. Exposed household pets provided an important clue to the diagnosis in some cases. Recurrent occult carbon monoxide poisoning may be a frequently overlooked cause of persistent or recurrent headache, fatigue, dizziness, paresthesias, abdominal pain, diarrhea and unusual spells.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / metabolism
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male

Substances

  • Carboxyhemoglobin