Of 129 patients with carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, 62(48.0%) had characteristic computed tomographic (CT) findings. The most common finding, seen in 42 patients, was low-density in the cerebral white matter, and the second characteristic feature, seen in 33 patients, was low-density in both globus pallidi. Abnormal CT findings tended to increase in accordance with the duration of unconsciousness during acute CO poisoning, but such findings occurred even when the mental state was clear during acute illness. The prognosis of acute CO poisoning depended on low-density lesions of the cerebral white matter rather than those of the globus pallidus. There also seemed to be a significant correlation between the cerebral white matter changes in the initial CT scan and the development of delayed neurologic sequelae after acute CO poisoning, particularly in middle age or older patients, but no correlation between the CT findings and the clinical outcome of delayed neurologic sequelae.
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