Acute Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Secondary to Cigarette Smoking in a 40-Year-Old Man: A Case Report

Beth K. Neilsen, Joseph Aloi, Ashish Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Carbon monoxide is one of the most common causes of fatal intoxications in the United States, and multiple previous studies have demonstrated that cigarette smokers have higher levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. However, the potential negative effects due to acute carbon monoxide poisoning from excessive cigarette smoking have not been well established. Methods: This is a single patient case report. Results: In this case report, a 40-year-old male with a past medical history of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and substance use disorder developed symptomatic, acute carbon monoxide poisoning secondary to heavy cigarette smoking in a confined space. In this patient, the cessation of clonazepam therapy coincided with increasing anxiety and panic disorder with agoraphobia triggering an escalation in his cigarette smoking. The patient smoked three packs of cigarettes in 3 hours and developed worsening of his symptoms. He required inpatient treatment with benzodiazepines and hyperbaric oxygen. Discussion and Conclusions: Therefore, it is important to recognize cigarette smoke as a significant source of carbon monoxide exposure. Scientific Significance: While the negative effects of cigarette smoking are often perceived as being chronic and only coming to fruition after numerous years of exposure, it is important for both physicians and patients to recognize the possibility for potentially life-threatening acute toxicity secondary to carbon monoxide exposure. (Am J Addict 2019;28:413–415).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-415
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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