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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Availability of Bedside and Laboratory Testing for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the Upper Midwestern United States

  • Author(s): Masters, Thomas
  • Willenbring, Brian
  • Westgard, Bjorn
  • Cole, Jon
  • Hendriksen, Stephen
  • Walter, Joseph
  • Logue, Christopher
  • Olives, Travis
  • et al.

Introduction: The objective of this study was to assess the ability to test patients for carbon monoxide (CO) exposure in all hospitals in three United States (U.S.) Midwestern states.

Methods: We surveyed hospitals in three states. Telephone queries assessed processes for measuring carboxyhemoglobin, including capacity for real-time vs send-out testing. Facilities wereseparated based on their location’s population size for further analysis. Descriptive statistics are reported.

Results: Of the 250 hospitals queried, we ultimately excluded 25. Nearly all (220, 97.8%) reported a process in place to test for CO exposure. Over 40% (n=92) lacked real-time testing. Testing ability was positively associated with increasing population size quartile (range 32.6% - 100%). Hospitals in the lowest-quartile population centers were more likely to report that they were unable to test in realtime than those in the largest-quartile population centers (67.4% vs 0%).

Conclusion: In a large geographic region encompassing three states, hospital-based and real-time capacity to test for CO exposure is not universal. Hospitals in smaller population areas are morelikely to lack real-time testing or any testing at all. This may have significant public health, triage, andreferral implications for patients.

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