[abstract] WAREHOUSE WORKER'S HEADACHE: ACUTE CO POISONING FROM PROPANE FUELED FORKLIFTS.

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[abstract] WAREHOUSE WORKER'S HEADACHE: ACUTE CO POISONING FROM PROPANE FUELED FORKLIFTS.

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Title: [abstract] WAREHOUSE WORKER'S HEADACHE: ACUTE CO POISONING FROM PROPANE FUELED FORKLIFTS.
Author: Fawcett, TA; Moon, RE; Fracica, PJ; Mebane, GY; Theil, DR; Shelton, DL; Piantadosi, CA
Abstract: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a frequent complication of using internal combustion engines in an enclosed space. Although gasoline powered equipment is a common offender, recent reports have shown that engines powered by liquified natural gas or propane can cause significant poisoning especially when used in a refrigerated environment such as ice rinks (Am-J-Public-Health 1990 May 80(5) 594-8). We reviewed over 220 cases of acute CO poisoning treated at the Duke Medical Center F.G. Hall Hyperbaric Center and report on 17 patients whose poisoning occurred from the use of propane powered forklifts. These patients were treated with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) based on neurologic symptoms and/or measured carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level > 25%. All patients in this series presented with neurologic symptoms, primarily headache, nausea, and lightheadedness. There were two cases of syncope and an additional case of unconsciousness. The duration of exposure ranged from 2 to 8 hours with a mean and median of 5.0 hours. Initial COHb level at the time of evaluation ranged from 4.0% to 28% with a mean of 22% and a median of 23%. The delay before treatment, measured from the end of the CO exposure to HBO ranged from 1 to 12 hours with a mean of 4.9 hours and a median of 3 hours. All patients received HBO consisting of 100% oxygen at 2.45 ATA (48 fsw) for 90 minutes without air breaks. Following HBO, all symptoms resolved without sequelae. These 17 cases occurred in 8 separate episodes where a forklift was operating inside a closed warehouse or garage. Of the 8 episodes, 6 (15 of 17 cases) occurred during winter months with the remaining 2 episodes occurring during midsummer in air-conditioned environments. These cases highlight a potentially hazardous complication of the common practice of using propane powered forklifts in enclosed areas. Patients who present with unexplained headache and constitutional symptoms related to working in warehouses warrant routine measurement of COHb level and appropriate treatment with oxygen if indicated.
Description: Abstract of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society Annual Scientific Meeting held June 19-23, 1991 at San Diego Princess Resort, San Diego, CA.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/7525
Date: 1991

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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