Carboxyhemoglobinemia in critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients

Hina Faisal, Syeda T. Ali, Jiaqiong Xu, Tariq Nisar, Mahmoud Sabawi, Eric Salazar, Faisal N. Masud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Carboxyhemoglobinemia is a common but a serious disorder, defined as an increase in carboxyhemoglobin level. Unfortunately, there are few data on carboxyhemoglobinemia in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Therefore, our study aimed to evaluate the incidence and etiologies of carboxyhemoglobinemia in COVID-19 patients and determine any association between carboxyhemoglobinemia and novel coronavirus infection. A retrospective chart review was performed at an academic medical center for all inpatient COVID-19 cases with either single or serial carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels from March 2020 through August 2020.Our study demonstrates that carboxyhemoglobinemia in COVID-19 patients is due to sepsis, hemolysis, and cytokine storm, triggered by the novel coronavirus infection sequela and is not directly from the virulence of novel coronavirus. Given the coexisting illnesses in critically ill COVID-19 patients, it is impossible to establish if coronavirus virulence was the culprit of elevated COHb levels. Moreover, our study found a high incidence of carboxyhemoglobinemia in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry can be inaccurate and unreliable; however, our study could not demonstrate any uniform results on the discrepancy between oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry and arterial blood gas. In this study, COHb levels were measured using a CO-oximeter. Therefore, we recommend monitoring the COHb level routinely in critically ill COVID-19 patients to allow more effective and prompt treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2731
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobinemia
  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Elevated carboxyhemoglobin
  • Etiology
  • Incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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