Demographic and clinical characteristics of carbon monoxide poisoning: nationwide data between 1999 and 2012 in Taiwan

Carbon monoxide poisoning (COP) is not uncommon, but nationwide epidemiological data are limited. The authors conducted a study in Taiwan to fill the data gaps. A nationwide poisoning database was used to study all COP patients in Taiwan diagnosed between 1999 and 2012. Descriptive analyses were conducted and compared the differences between the two sexes. In addition, the authors assessed the trends in suicide and mortality rates from 1999 to 2012. 25,912 COP patients with an almost equal female and male distribution (50.6% vs. 49.4%) were identified. The mean age was 36.0 years, and most of the patients were between 20 and 50 years old. The highest incidence rate in the year occurred during winter. While female patients were more likely to have mental disorders (35.9% vs. 28.1%, p < 0.001), male patients were more likely to be resulted from suicide attempts (22.9% vs. 17.7%, p < 0.001). In both sexes, the suicidal rate increased from 1999, reached the peak in 2007, and then decreased gradually. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was performed in 24.2% of the patients. Neurological sequelae developed in 9.1% of the patients, and chronic respiratory failure and requirement of long-term care were observed in 5.0% and 0.1% of the patients. The 1-month and 3-month mortality rates were 1.6% and 5.0%. The 3-month mortality rate did not show significant change between 1999 and 2012. This study showed a whole picture of COP in Taiwan, which could add to the important knowledge of this disastrous problem in public health. Some important findings, including higher percentages of mental disorders in female patients and suicide attempt in male patients, seasonal changes, and trends in mortality and morbidity (suicide) rates, may help developing strategies for prevention and treatment of COP.

Authors: Huang CC, Ho CH, Chen YC, Lin HJ, Hsu CC, Wang JJ, Su SB, Guo HR. ; Full Source: Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. 2017 Jul 14;25(1):70. doi: 10.1186/s13049-017-0416-7.