Breath carbon monoxide is the level of carbon monoxide in a person’s exhalation. It can be measured by testing using a carbon monoxide breath monitor (breath CO monitor). This test is designed for smoking cessation and as a clinical aid in assessing carbon monoxide poisoning.
CO monitors measure carbon monoxide in parts per million (ppm) in breath. The tests are increasing in popularity because they are noninvasive and are inexpensive to use.
- Smoking Cessation
As an aid to smoking cessation, a breath CO monitor can be used as a motivational and educational tool. Self-reported smoking status has been shown to be unreliable and a CO monitor replaces this. 1
- CO Poisoning
CO breath monitors are used by emergency services to help identify patients who are suspected of having CO poisoning. Because carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas it is very difficult to detect. 2
CO poisoning can occur in many situations where incomplete combustion is present, with the most common causes being house fires or faulty gas appliances.
- Firefighter Rehab
The MicroCO Breath CO monitor complies with NFPA 1584 – “Standard on the Rehabilitation Process for Members During Emergency Operations and Training Exercises”
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1 Irving, J. (1988). "Evaluation of a Portable Measure of Expired-Air Carbon Monoxide". Preventive Medicine 17: 109–115.
2 Ainsworth-Smith, M (2009). "Find the Cause Before the Cause Finds You!". Ambulance Today: 21.