Medical Surgical Carbon monoxide poisoning #5

Question

While caring for a client with acute carbon monoxide poisoning, the nurse understands which two organs are at most risk?

Answers

  1. Brain and heart.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the brain and heart have a high need for oxygen. These two organs are at most risk from hypoxia. Poor perfusion to the brain increases intracranial pressure and can cause cerebral edema. The toxicity it causes at the cellular level is responsible for the cardiac ischemia seen in carbon monoxide poisoning. Myoglobin in muscle cells transports oxygen. The heart is a muscle.

  2. Heart and kidneys.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the lungs are not at most risk with carbon monoxide exposure. Once inhaled by the lungs, it passes into the bloodstream and attaches to hemoglobin, thus making the brain and heart most vulnerable from the hypoxia it causes. Carbon monoxide is rarely associated with renal failure.

  3. Liver and pancreas.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct, although hepatic and pancreatic damage can occur due to poor perfusion. The organs at most risk are the brain and heart.

  4. Kidneys and intestines.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because carbon monoxide is rarely associated with renal failure. However, perfusion injury can affect all organs.

Overview

Carbon monoxide binds intensely to hemoglobin, and disables its function of transferring oxygen into the blood. The two organs that this affects most are the organs that have a high need for oxygen, which are the brain and heart.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Carbon monoxide binds intensely to hemoglobin, and disables its function of transferring oxygen into the blood. The two organs that this affects most are the organs that have a high need for oxygen, which are the brain and heart. These two organs are at most risk from hypoxia. Poor perfusion to the brain increases intracranial pressure and can cause cerebral edema. The toxicity it causes at the cellular level is responsible for the cardiac ischemia seen in carbon monoxide poisoning. Myoglobin in muscle cells transports oxygen, such as the heart muscle.

Test Taking Tip

Understand how carbon monoxide causes harm by attaching to hemoglobin, thus severely impairing its function of transporting oxygen.

Video Rationale