Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Smoke Inhalation Underlying Cause

Fire smoke is low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide, which starves the body of oxygen. In addition, many substances in smoke are toxic to the human body. Smoke can cause damage to the lungs and airways, or poisoning can occur if a chemical in the smoke is absorbed by the lungs.

Toxic chemicals that may be present in smoke include:

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Smoke Inhalation References
  1. Bakand S, Winder C, Khalil C, Hayes A. Toxicity assessment of industrial chemicals and airborne contaminants: transition from in vivo to in vitro test methods: a review. Inhal Toxicol. 2005 Dec 1;17(13):775-87. [16195213]
  2. Ballesteros MF, Jackson ML, Martin MW. Working toward the elimination of residential fire deaths: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Smoke Alarm Installation and Fire Safety Education (SAIFE) program. J Burn Care Rehabil. 2005 Sep-Oct;26(5):434-9. [16151290]
  3. Meshulam-Derazon S, Nachumovsky S, Ad-El D, Sulkes J, Hauben DJ. Prediction of morbidity and mortality on admission to a burn unit. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Jul;118(1):116-20. [16816682]
  4. Prien T, Traber DL. Toxic smoke compounds and inhalation injury--a review. Burns Incl Therm Inj. 1988 Dec;14(6):451-60. Review. [2855039]
  5. Thompson JT, Molnar JA, Hines MH, Chang MC, Pranikoff T. Successful management of adult smoke inhalation with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. J Burn Care Rehabil. 2005 Jan-Feb;26(1):62-6. [15640737]
  6. Wright MJ, Murphy JT.Smoke inhalation enhances early alveolar leukocyte responsiveness to endotoxin. J Trauma. 2005 Jul;59(1):64-70. [16096540]
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