TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Every year in the United States, about 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. While cases spike in the North this time of year because home heaters are on full blast, it’s a danger everywhere year-round. Some patients don’t even know they’re affected until it’s too late.
Cathy Gunn didn’t know driving her van into the garage could lead her down a deadly road.
Gunn said, “I was going to die. Going to die.”
Her keyless car was accidentally left on. Carbon monoxide seeped out of the exhaust pipe and snuck its way into her home.
“The whole house had filled to a 190 level. Usually at 200 they see people unconscious or dead,” Gunn shared.
Gunn had no idea she was breathing in the poison for hours. Somehow she made it out alive. But the poison was still creeping its way through every corner of her body.
“I told my husband I’m gonna die. Take all the money out of the bank and fly me anywhere in the world but get me help now,” Gunn stated.
Help came in the form of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Gunn lay inside the pressurized chamber breathing in 100 percent oxygen, three hours a day, for 43 days.
Surbhi Jain, MD, from AdventHealth said, “It accelerates the elimination of carbon monoxide.”
Dr. Jain says this method also eliminates the hyper activation of white cells.
“So the injury damage that is happening in the body at the cellular level is what the hyperbaric acts upon,” Dr. Jain explained.
Gunn said, “The hyperbaric oxygen therapy definitely saved my life.”
A life that took a toxic turn. But is now getting back on track.
Gunn says she does not park a keyless car in her garage and advises others to do the same. Carbon monoxide comes from gas burning in poorly ventilated areas. Dr. Jain says carbon monoxide detectors can detect when levels are too high and should be installed in homes in addition to smoke detectors.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor; Travis Bell, Videographer.
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TOPIC: HYPERBARIC CHAMBER REVERSES CO POISONING
REPORT: MB #4554
BACKGROUND: Carbon monoxide poisoning is when carbon monoxide builds up in the blood stream. When carbon monoxide is in the air, it replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells and can lead to severe tissue damage and even death. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that is produced by burning gasoline, wood, charcoal, propane or other fuel. The gas can accumulate if it is improperly ventilated particularly in tightly sealed places. Using your oven or gas stove to heat up your house is another way that carbon monoxide can get inside your home. Symptoms of the gas poisoning are dull headache, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion and blurred vision.
DIAGNOSIS & RISKS: Unborn babies at high risk for carbon monoxide poisoning because fetal blood cells will take in the toxic gas faster than adults. Because children take more breaths than adults, they are also at a higher risk. Older adults and those with chronic heart disease are at risk also due to their breathing problems and the amount of damage that can be done if it is taken in. In using a CO-oximeter to test for carbon monoxide, the exhaled gas might not be able to diagnose the problem. Doctors may perform a blood gas test, which takes blood from the arteries to see how the gas has affected the bloodstream, to be more accurate. There are a list of things that must be ruled out first before reaching carbon monoxide poison such as meningitis, tension headache, encephalitis and diabetic ketoacidosis.
(Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-diagnosis-4161054 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/symptoms-causes/syc-20370642 https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/819987-differential)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Carbon monoxide poisoning can only be treated by exposing patients to 100 percent oxygen. One option is to use a high oxygen non-rebreather mask. . This process could take over five hours to get rid of the poison. Another easier process that has been introduced is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is normally used for scuba divers with decompression sickness. The air pressure is three times higher than normal to help the oxygen move throughout the bloodstream. Possible new treatments include using light and oxygen injections. If the right color light is exposed, it could lead to reducing carbon monoxide levels. These processes have not had human trials yet.
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