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Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning by mechanical ventilation: Case report

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Severe carbon monoxide poisoning is a not uncommon disease in North America. The authors were privileged to treat a fifteen-year-old female who had attempted suicide with carbon monoxide. When first seen, she exhibited decerebrate rigidity and evidence of aspiration pneumonitis. She was treated with prolonged trachéal intubation and moderate hyperventilation. She also received dexamethasone as an anti-oedema and anti-inflammatory agent. The patient “awoke” after sixty hours of ventilator therapy. She subsequently recovered from most of her neurologic injuries. She is said to be the first survivor (in this area) of carbon monoxide poisoning with decerebrate rigidity.


En Amérique du nord, l’empoisonnement grave au monoxyde de carbone n’est pas une maladie rare. Les auteurs ont eu la bonne fortune de traiter une jeune fille de 15 ans qui avait tenté de se suicider avec du monoxyde de carbone. A son premier examen, elle présentait des signes de rigidité décérébrée et de pneumonie d’aspiration. Le traitement a consisté en une intubation endotracheale prolongée et en une hyperventilation modérée. Elle a reçu également de la déxaméthasone comme agent anti-inflammatoire et anti-oedemateux. La malade s’est réveillée après six heures de thérapie ventilatoire. Subséquemment, toutes ses séquelles neurologiques sont disparues. Dans la région, on s’accorde à dire qu’elle est la première survivante à un empoisonnement au monoxyde de carbone avec rigidité décérébrée.


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Correspondence to John B. Stetson.

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From the Vital Function Laboratory Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Townsend, G.L., Stetson, J.B. Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning by mechanical ventilation: Case report. Can. Anaes. Soc. J. 15, 184–196 (1968). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03005725

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  • Metabolic Acidosis
  • CANADIAN Anaesthetist
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Brain Blood Flow
  • Suction Catheter