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Carbon monoxide can damage hearts

January 30, 2006|From Times wire reports

People who survive a toxic encounter with carbon monoxide, one of the most common types of accidental poisoning in the United States, appear to run a risk of death years later because of damaged heart muscle.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation said a look at 230 patients treated for moderate to severe poisoning from the colorless, odorless gas found that 37% suffered heart muscle injury. Of that group nearly a quarter died within the next seven years.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen with abnormal exposure to gases from any type of combustion, including furnaces and automobiles. About 40,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for it every year.

The report was published in the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

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