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Open Access Research article

Neuropsychological outcome after carbon monoxide exposure following a storm: a case-control study

Bérengère Pages1, Mélanie Planton12, Sophie Buys3, Béatrice Lemesle1, Philippe Birmes4, Emmanuel Joseph Barbeau5, Stéphanie Maziero1, Laurie Cordier6, Claudine Cabot6, Michèle Puel12, Michèle Genestal3, François Chollet12 and Jérémie Pariente12*

Author Affiliations

1 Service de Neurologie, Pôle Neurosciences, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, Toulouse Cedex 9, France

2 Inserm, Imagerie Cérébrale et Handicaps Neurologiques UMR 825, Université de Toulouse, UPS, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, F-31059 Toulouse Cedex 9, France

3 Service de Réanimation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, Toulouse Cedex 9, France

4 Université de Toulouse; UPS; Laboratoire du Stress Traumatique (LST-JE 2511), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, Toulouse Cedex 9, France

5 Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition (CERCO), Pavillon Baudot Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, Toulouse Cedex 9, France

6 Centre Antipoison et de Toxicovigilance, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, CHU Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, Toulouse Cedex 9, France

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BMC Neurology 2014, 14:153  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-153

Published: 21 July 2014

Abstract

Background

The cognitive consequences of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are well described. However, most studies have been carried out without an ad-hoc group of control subjects. The main aim of this study was to evaluate cognitive and psychiatric outcome after CO exposure during the storm Klaus in the South West of France (January 2009) in a homogeneous group of patients compared to a group of 1:1 paired controls.

Methods

Patients and controls were asked to fill out questionnaires about quality of life and cognitive complaints. They then underwent a cognitive assessment derived from the Carbon Monoxide Neuropsychological Screening Battery. Psychiatric assessment was performed using subtests of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.

Results

38 patients and 38 paired controls were included (mean age 38.8 years) and evaluated 51 days after the poisoning. No difference was found between groups on the cognitive complaint questionnaire but patients had a lower quality of life than controls. Patients showed significantly lower cognitive performance than controls on processing speed, mental flexibility, inhibition and working and verbal episodic memories. Patients were more depressed than controls, and suffered more from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Conclusions

We report the first study investigating cognitive and psychiatric outcome in consecutive patients after CO poisoning during a natural disaster, using a group comparison method. CO poisoning during storms needs to be dealt with adequately and clinicians should be aware of its possible consequences.

Keywords:
Carbon monoxide; Neuropsychological outcome; Storm; Memory; Post-traumatic stress disorder