January 2009

Carbon Monoxide - Advances in Medical Knowledge

The danger of carbon monoxide has been recognized in terms of its hypoxic effect for some time. This happens because carbon monoxide binds with the red blood cells or hemoglobin at a rate 240 times greater than does oxygen. This displaces oxygen in the transport to the organs of the body that are so dependent upon the constant replenishment of oxygen supply. The brain and the heart are the two largest consumers of oxygen in the body. It is now becoming recognized that carbon monoxide also causes a cascade of inflammatory effects that damage the brain and heart even after the carbon monoxide or carboxy hemoglobin levels have declined.

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