Symptoms and Signs of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Poisoning

Doctor's Notes on Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Carbon dioxide poisoning (also called hypercapnia or hypercarbia) results from high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Carbon dioxide poisoning often occurs while scuba diving, from inadequate ventilation, inadequate breathing, a tight wetsuit, overexertion, regulator malfunction, deep diving, and contamination of the air supply with exhaled gases, which can cause a carbon dioxide buildup. Carbon dioxide levels in the blood may increase, causing shortness of breath and drowsiness, resulting in carbon dioxide toxicity.

Symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, rapid breathing, fast heart rate, and flushing (warmth, redness, or tingling of the skin). Symptoms of severe cases of carbon dioxide poisoning may include confusion, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.