Into the Tank: Pressurized oxygen is best at countering carbon monoxide exposure

12:49pm, October 2, 2002

Carbon monoxide poisoning sends roughly 40,000 people to hospitals every year in the United States. Although doctors routinely treat such patients with oxygen, the medical community still hasn't reached a consensus on the optimum dose or best delivery method.

Scientists report in the Oct. 3 New England Journal of Medicine that breathing pressurized, or hyperbaric, oxygen limits long-term brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning better than simply inhaling oxygen at normal atmospheric pressure from a mask, the most common therapy.

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