Single-breath-count test: An important adjunct in the triaging of patients in a mass-casualty incident due to botulism

Paul P. Rega, Christopher E. Bork, Kelly Burkholder-Allen, Michael S. Bisesi, Jeffrey P. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Clostridium botulinum toxins, the most poisonous substance known to humankind, are considered to be a [US] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A bioterrorist agent. Despite this concern, little has been published with regard to the tactical aspects of triaging a mass-casualty event involving botulism victims arriving at an emergency department. Because neuromuscular-ventilatory failure is a principal reason for botulism's early morbidity and mortality, using a quick and sensitive test to evaluate this possibility is imperative. The purpose of this article is to propose the adoption of the Single-Breath-Count Test (SBCT). The ease and validity of the use of the SBCT in evaluating complications associated with various neuromuscular disorders make it an attractive adjunct for triage during a mass-casualty incident due to botulism. While education, immune globulin, antitoxin, and invasive airway techniques are well-recognized steps in treating botulism, incorporating a time-honored technique such as the SBCT, will be an important addition to the triage process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-222
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • botulism
  • mass-casualty incident
  • single-breath-count test
  • toxin
  • triage
  • ventilatory failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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