The EDCO studies: research into low level carbon monoxide exposure in emergency departments

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Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless, odourless gas produced by incomplete fuel combustion. The signs and symptoms of exposure are non-specific and therefore it is difficult to diagnose; if the diagnosis is missed it may lead to long-term health problems. Unfortunately, no-one knows exactly how big a problem this may be. The EDCO studies aim to provide information on issues relating to low-level, unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide exposure in emergency department patients.

Details of each of the studies are below.

The EDCO-M study: carbon monoxide alarm use in emergency department patients

ISRCTN registration:

The EDCO-M study is a multi-centre cress-sectional survey, funded by the CO Research Trust (previously the Gas Safety Trust). Having a carbon monoxide alarm installed in homes can help with early detection of carbon monoxide and reduce
the risk of exposure. We know that not everyone has a carbon monoxide alarm in their homes and we are trying to find out if there are differences in those who have alarms compared to those that do not so we can provide tailored information on carbon monoxide alarm use to those that need it.

Participant information sheet (St George’s Hospital)

Participant information sheet (Epsom and St Helier’s)

Core study team

Professor Heather Jarman (Chief Investigator)

Professor Richard Atkinson

Dr Phil Moss

Dr Ashik Babu

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The EDCO study: screening for carbon monoxide in the Emergency Department

ISRCTN registration: 16329899

The EDCO study is a enhanced surveillance study, funded by the CO Research Trust (previously the Gas Safety Trust), working in collaboration with the University of Surrey and Public Health England.

Thistudy is now closed to recruitment. A summary of results will be available on this page when available. Full dissemination will be through journals.

The EDCO study aims to:

  • Find out how commonly are people presenting to emergency departments are actually exposed to carbon monoxide
  • Evaluate a screening tool for identification of patients with symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure
  • See if there is a seasonal variation in the levels of carbon monoxide exposure
  • Try and identify new blood markers of carbon monoxide exposure that are more reliable than the current

Associated publications

Cappelletto M, Jarman H (2021) Screening and management of unintentional low-level carbon monoxide exposure in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2077

Core study team

Professor Heather Jarman (Chief Investigator)

Professor Richard Atkinson

Professor Tim Quinn