Introduction Carbon monoxide poisoning remains a threat for children. Clinical severity and presentation of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are dependent of COHb level. Our aim was to describe the children hospitalised in our department for CO poisoning and to compare HbCO level to clinicaly reported symptoms.
Methods We are a secondary care centre hospital with hyperbaric oxygen therapy facilities and represent the reference centre for Ile De France region for CO poisoning. The medical records of patients aged between 0 and 16 years with a confirmed diagnosis of CO poisoning, defined as the presence of a COHb level of more than 5%, were evaluated. Relevant information such as age, sex, source of CO, coaffected family members, month of presentation, time of presentation and presenting symptoms, duration of oxygen treatment in the emergency department, need for admission to an inpatient ward or intensive care unit, Glasgow Coma Scale scores was recorded for each patient on preprepared forms.
Results The records of 50 patients were included. 26 (57.1%) of which were female, and 24 (42.9%) were male, with a median age of 7.0 years (range, 1 month to 16 years) and a mean COHb level 7%. Thirty two patients (64%) had a COHb between 1.5% and 10% on presentation, whereas the remaining 28 patients (36%) had a presenting COHb of greater than 10%. Neurologic symptoms such as headache, syncope, seizures, and confusion were encountered more frequently in the COHb greater than 10% group compared with the group with 1,5% to 10% COHb levels.
Conclusions In this study, we managed to demonstrate the presence of more frequent symptoms in patients with a COHb level of 10% or greater. Further analysis revealed that severe symptoms were more pronounced in adolescents and that the severity of symptoms increased with age.