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Carbon Monoxide Blood Test

A carbon monoxide blood test is used to detect carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sample Report

Test Code: 007187

Also Known As: Carboxyhemoglobin; Blood CO; CO Blood Test; CO Blood Gas; Arterial Blood Gas

Methodology: Co-oximetry

Preparation: No fasting required. A late afternoon or evening collection is preferred, especially if the patient may have occupational exposure.

Test Results: 3-5 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

Sample Report

Test Code: 309

Also Known As: Carboxyhemoglobin; Blood CO; CO Blood Test; CO Blood Gas; Arterial Blood Gas

Methodology: Spectrophotometry (SP)

Preparation: No special preparation required. A late afternoon or evening collection is preferred, especially if the patient may have occupational exposure.

Test Results: 2-3 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

Description

This test is concerned with carboxyhemoglobin. This substance is made when too much carbon monoxide is in the air.  The body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide instead.  Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the bloodstream.  They bind together stronger than oxygen does, which can lead to serious tissue damage and can be fatal.  This gas has no color, no odor or taste, so when you breathe it, you can't tell.  

Carbon monoxide exposure sources may include exhaust from vehicles, gas burning equipment such as stoves and water heaters, cigarette smoke and fuel burning equipment such as heaters and grills. There are usually no problems with these things. However, if they are not appropriately used or adequately installed, carbon monoxide can build up in a closed area.

Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:

  • dull headache
  • difficulty breathing
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion
Severe poisoning can cause symptoms of the nerve system including:
  • Coma
  • Seizures
This test is typically taken when someone has symptoms of CO exposure, especially if they live or work in an environment with a high risk of CO exposure. A CO test can also be performed to evaluate the health effects of a person who smokes regularly.

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