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Chudoku Kenkyu. 2013 Mar;26(1):54-60.

[Case of carbon monoxide poisoning with delayed encephalopathy assessed by magnetic resonance imaging].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Yamagata University, School of Medicine.


A 21-year-old man attempted suicide by burning charcoal in a car for more than one day and was admitted to a regional hospital. On admission, his blood carboxyhemoglobin concentration was 4.4%. The patient was transferred to our emergency department because of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) was performed 5 times over 3 days. Fluid-attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR) and diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed on day 3 showed high signal-intensity lesions in the cerebral white matter. Additional HBO was performed once per day until day 16. Wecheler Memory Scale-Reviced (WMS-R) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) performed on day 17 showed his cognitive impairment. He gradually recovered the cognitive function and was discharged from the hospital without neurological sequelae on day 49. Delayed encephalopathy after acute carbon monoxide poisoning with dementia, mental impairment, and psychosis is a serious complication. Hyperintensity in FLAIR and DWI MRI predicts delayed encephalopathy and indicates cellular edema and demyelination of the white matter. One of the risk factors is prolonged carbon monoxide exposure. This case suggests that the patient, who was exposed to carbon monoxide for many hours, was at a high risk of delayed encephalopathy despite the low blood carboxyhemoglobin concentration and therefore must be monitored using MRI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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