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July 10, 2019

A portable device invented in Canada results in a highly effective emergency treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

VICTIMS AT WINNIPEG’S MOTEL ACCIDENT COULD HAVE BEEN TREATED ON-THE-SPOT

 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is like asphyxia.  Early treatment is the key factor in optimizing recovery of neurological function and survival.

Where Canada’s portable ClearMate™ device – Health Canada and FDA approved – is available, the clearing of carbon monoxide from the blood can begin immediately; on site at the time of rescue, in the ambulance, or in the Emergency Department of the nearest medical center. 

Hyperbaric chambers eliminate carbon monoxide as quickly as the ClearMate, but are very scarce, and even where available, take a long time to set up so they can accept patients.  This makes hyperbaric chambers impractical as emergency treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Where hyperbaric chambers are not available, patients are just administered oxygen as the standard therapy.  This provides only a moderate increase in the elimination rate of carbon monoxide.  Paradoxically, it does not increase the oxygen getting to the brain, rather, it has been shown to reduce it. 

ClearMate is a practical treatment in that it is small (about the size of a briefcase), relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and has no foreseeable side effects.  It requires only that the patient breathe, or, can be assisted in doing so.  Yet it eliminates carbon monoxide as fast as the hyperbaric chamber.  It is designed for use in the ER as well as by fire services and EMS.  It can also be stationed in factories, mines, schools, hotels, skating rinks, and other places where carbon monoxide poisoning can occur.  Again, early treatment is the key to saving brains and lives.

WHO: Dr. Joe Fisher is a specialist in anesthesiology and critical care, and Professor and research scientist at the University of Toronto.  He led the team that developed the first practical treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning in a century.

WHY: Whether there are single victims, whole families, or multiple unrelated people such as Winnipeg’s recent Super 8 Motel accident, the rapid elimination of CO from the blood will provide the best possible care.