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Ann Emerg Med. 1985 Jun;14(6):603-6.

Cutaneous blisters and carbon monoxide poisoning.


We present the cases of three patients with skin blisters following carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Their blisters appeared to be related to the severity of the poisoning (HbCO levels of more than 40%). Two of the three patients died despite aggressive initial 100% surface oxygen followed by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The pathophysiology of this type of blister remains unresolved. It could result from pressure necrosis alone or from a combination of pressure necrosis and direct CO inhibition of tissue oxidative enzymes. Although skin involvement as a result of CO poisoning is less frequently reported today than in the past (perhaps because of misidentified burns or because of more aggressive resuscitation and treatment protocols), the physician should recognize that such blisters may signal severe CO poisoning.

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