Health Indicator Report of Hospitalizations Due to Unintentional Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. Unintentional CO exposure to people most frequently occurs due to improper ventilation, and or inhalation of exhaust fumes from vehicles, generators, gas furnaces or heaters. CO poisoning can also occur in combination with smoke inhalation from residential fires. While most CO poisoning can be prevented, every year more than 500 Americans die as a result of exposure to this toxic gas. Thousands of Americans annually need to get medical care for non-fatal CO poisonings. Symptoms of CO exposure may include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and confusion. At high levels, CO poisoning causes loss of consciousness and death. Survivors of severe poisoning may suffer long-term neurological problems. CO poisoning can be prevented by the installation of CO detectors/alarms and the proper maintenance of heating systems.
- Office of Health Care Quality and Assessment, New Jersey Department of Health, [http://www.nj.gov/health/healthcarequality/]
- U.S. Census Bureau
DefinitionNumber or rate of inpatient hospitalizations due to unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, from fires, non-fire conditions, or unknown causes, in a geographic area in a time period. The ICD-9 discharge diagnosis E-codes used through September 2015 were: E890.0-E899.9 for fire-related hospitalization; E800-E848.9, E850-E869.9, E880-E888.9, E900-E928.9 for non-fire-related hospitalization; All records with a 986 code (carbon monoxide poisoning) with no associated E-code were classified as unknown. Beginning October 2015 and onward, ICD-10 code T58 was used (with exclusions for intentional and additional coding for fire and non-fire subcategories).
NumeratorNumber of inpatient hospitalizations due to unintentional CO poisoning occurring among residents of a specified geographic area in a specified time period
DenominatorFor rates, estimated population of a specific geographic area in a specific time period (using mid-year population estimates).
How Are We Doing?Between 2000 and 2016, inpatient hospitalization rates due to unintentional CO poisoning have averaged 0.55 per 100,000 persons from all causes. Most CO poisonings are caused by fumes from improperly ventilated heaters, furnaces or motor vehicles. Inpatient hospitalization rates do not reflect the total burden of CO poisoning, since severely poisoned individuals may die in an Emergency Department or without being hospitalized, and treatment of other cases may take place outside of a hospital.
What Is Being Done?The Division of Consumer Affairs in the NJ Office of the Attorney General provides guidance on the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning on their web site: [http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/Consumer%20Briefs/carbon-monoxide-poisoning.pdf#search=carbon%20monoxide]
Health Program InformationThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a variety of useful online information on the prevention of CO poisoning: [http://www.cdc.gov/CO/basics.htm] [http://www.cdc.gov/CO/guidelines.htm]
Page Content Updated On 10/20/2017, Published on 10/25/2017