Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New first-aid method could prevent brain damage in patients exposed to carbon monoxide

04.12.2002


A new first-aid method of treating carbon monoxide poisoning could prevent brain damage in patients by delivering more oxygen to the brain than the standard treatment, according to a study by physicians at the Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network (UHN).



The study is published in the December issue of the U.S. based and peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine. The researchers, led by Dr. Josh Rucker, a Toronto General Hospital research fellow and resident in the Anesthesiology training program at the University of Toronto, studied 14 subjects who were exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide (resulting in blood levels about equal to those in heavy smokers) on two occasions in order to simulate conditions during carbon monoxide poisoning.

After each exposure, which lasted one hour, the participants were given one of two "test treatments": the standard treatment of 100% oxygen, or the new method consisting of a mixture of mostly oxygen and some carbon dioxide. Each participant received both test treatments in random order. Researchers then monitored the amount of oxygen in the blood and the blood flow to the brain during exposure to carbon monoxide and during the test treatments.


KEY RESULTS

  • During the standard treatment with 100% oxygen, the flow of blood to the brain diminished, decreasing oxygen delivery to the brain. Results showed that the blood flow decreased by up to 33% and the oxygen delivered to the brain decreased by up to 20%.

  • Such a decrease in blood flow to the brain is sufficient to contribute to brain damage in a patient with severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • However, during treatment with the combination of oxygen and carbon dioxide, two effects were observed:

  • The delivery of oxygen to the brain was greater than during treatment with oxygen alone;

  • The rate of elimination of carbon monoxide increased by more than 20%.

"These results are intriguing," said Dr. Fisher, an anesthesiologist at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a senior author of the study. "Most doctors believe that giving patients oxygen is like giving them chicken soup -- it can’t hurt. But, in fact, we find that treating carbon monoxide-exposed participants with pure oxygen actually limits the amount of oxygen that gets to their brains. That is worrisome."

"If severely poisoned patients respond like our test subjects, this new first-aid treatment may decrease the extent of brain damage in survivors," added Dr. Joseph Fisher.

IMPLICATIONS

  • This study raises the possibility that the standard first-aid treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning -- 100% oxygen - constricts blood vessels to the brain and decreases the total oxygen delivered to the brain.

  • Researchers think that the small amount of carbon dioxide in the oxygen counteracts the constriction of blood vessels to the brain

  • Although clinical studies need to be completed before recommending a change in the first-aid treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning, the results of this study suggest that simply maintaining carbon dioxide levels during treatment will result in more oxygen delivery to the brain, thereby decreasing the risk of permanent brain damage in severely poisoned patients.

  • Note: Adding carbon dioxide to oxygen during treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning was common in the late 1920s and 1930s.

  • It was thought then that the carbon dioxide stimulated breathing, helping to eliminate carbon monoxide more quickly, but was discontinued in the late 1940s when mechanical ventilators became available.

  • This study supports the re-introduction of this practice in order to maintain blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

  • Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of fatal poisoning in the industrialized world, as well as being endemic in many parts of the developing world which use fossil fuels

  • In North America, it results in as many as 70,000 emergency room visits a year and in thousands of deaths

  • Up to 30 per cent of survivors of severe poisoning are left with disabling psychological and neurological symptoms, which sometimes last for years

  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless colorless gas formed during incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels - gas, oil, coal and wood used in boilers, engines, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires

  • When carbon monoxide is inhaled--even in tiny concentrations--it combines with the hemoglobin in the red blood cells to prevent the delivery of oxygen to the body

  • This results in few symptoms until the poisoning is advanced

  • Those suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning may initially complain of headache, nausea and fatigue but the symptoms can rapidly progress to coma and even death

  • It is therefore critical that carbon monoxide be eliminated from the body as soon and as quickly as possible

  • The only currently available emergency treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is giving the patient 100 per cent oxygen


The study was supported, in part, by the Department of Anesthesia, University Health Network and the University of Toronto, and the Tobi and Ted Bekhor Foundation.

The Toronto General Hospital is a partner in University Health Network, along with Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at Toronto General Hospital has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has one of the largest hospital-based research programs in Canada, with major research projects in cardiology, transplantation, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. Toronto General Hospital is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Josh Rucker or Dr. Joseph Fisher, please contact:

Alex Radkewycz
Public Affairs
Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network
Phone: 416-340-3895
Pager: 416-980-0752

Marlene de Chellis | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Custom-tailored strategy against glioblastomas
26.09.2016 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development

28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering

Innovate coating extends the life of materials for industrial use

28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market

28.09.2016 | Business and Finance

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>