Audience: This oral boards case is appropriate for all emergency medicine learners (residents, interns, and medical students).
Introduction: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas that typically results from combustion. It binds hemoglobin, dissociating oxygen, causing headache, weakness, confusion and possible seizure or coma. Pulse oxygen levels may be falsely elevated. Practitioners should maintain a high index of suspicion for carbon monoxide poisoning. If caught early CO poisoning is reversible with oxygen or hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Objectives: The learner will assess a patient with altered mental status and weakness, ultimately identifying that the patient has carbon monoxide poisoning. The learner will treat the patient with oxygen and admit/transfer the patient for hyperbaric oxygenation.
Method: Oral boards case
Topics: Carbon monoxide poisoning, toxicology, carboxyhemoglobin, altered mental status, oral boards, hypoxia, pulse oximetry.