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Overview of Carbon Monoxide Breath Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Smoking is one of the most common habits all over the world and in spite of the numerous medical journals and papers pointing out the various risks involved in smoking. A lot of people find the habit one that is too hard to break.

Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is a constituent of the smoke inhaled by somebody who smokes and the fact that it is colorless, odorless and tasteless makes it very hard for an individual to detect its presence. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include vertigo, headaches and a number of flu like effects. The presence of carbon monoxide in the system can severely affect the natural growth of an unborn fetus in a pregnant woman. This is one of the main reasons that a pregnant lady should not be allowed to smoke as well as be around people that are smoking. The treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning will primarily be based on the administration of 100% oxygen or through hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Just as with the widely used methods of detecting alcohol levels in the blood stream, carbon monoxide levels can also be detected with the help of a breathalyzer. The smokerlyser is the instrument used to treat patients at smoking cessation clinics and smoking intervention testing centers. These instruments are also widely used in emergency rooms when treating patients that have suffered from severe carbon monoxide poisoning. The major benefit of the instrument is the fact that it can provide immediate results of the levels of carbon monoxide from only a single exhalation of breath. Thus it cancels out the delay caused by other methods that require a lab test.

Procedure For Conducting a Carbon Urea Breath Test

A carbon urea breath test is fairly simple to perform and requires the patient to simply breathe out into a monitor that uses hygienic and disposable mouthpieces. The monitor is battery powered and is specifically designed for individuals that want to quit smoking.

The percentage of blood that is contaminated by carbon monoxide content is unable to carry oxygen - thus rendering it useless. As a result, if a doctor informs a patient that his or her carboxyhemoglobin is 10% - it indicates that this ratio of blood is useless. Moreover, pointing this fact out is known to be a better way of getting the patients attention and letting them understand the dangers of the habit. Just because a person does not smoke does not mean that his or her blood is not contaminated. Passive smoking is as dangerous and would also require a check on the carbon monoxide levels.