Half-life of blood carboxyhemoglobin after short-term and long-term exposure to carbon monoxide

T. Shimazu, H. Ikeuchi, H. Sugimoto, C. W. Goodwin, Jr Mason, Jr Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Bakground: In models of smoke inhalation injury and carbon monoxide poisoning blood carboxy-hemoglobin (COHb) levels decrease faster than predieted by the generally recognized Half-life of COHb. We studied the effects of duration of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) on the subsequent CO elimination. Methods: Each of four sheep were insufflated with CO gas mixtures either for a few minutes (short-term exposure) or for several hours (long-term exposure), then ventilated with air for 3 hours. Serial COHb concentrations were analyzed by using a two-compartment, single central outlet mathematical model. Results: Short-term exposures exhibited biphasic decreases of COHb concentration compatible with a two-compartment model; an initial rapid decrease (half-life 5.7 ± 1.4 minutes) was followed by a slower phase (103 ± 20.5 minutes). Long-term exposures exhibited almost monophasic decreases, which were nevertheless compatible with the model (half-life, 21.5 ± 2.1 and 118 ± 11.2 minutes). Conclusion: This study demonstrated different patterns of CO elimination curve, which suggests distribution of CO to two compartments having different rates of equilibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carboxy-hemoglobin (COHb)
  • Half-life
  • Smoke inhalation injury
  • Two compartment analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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