Deaths and injury occur in the home from exposure to carbon monoxide from malfunctioning or faulty fossil fuelled and wood burning appliances. The fact that exposure to carbon monoxide can kill, has been known for more than 100 years. At levels that do not kill, the scientific literature clearly shows that carbon monoxide can have adverse effects on health. Carbon monoxide impairs the delivery of oxygen to tissues in the body. Tissues with a high demand for oxygen such as the heart and the brain are at particular risk. It is widely known that exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause lasting damage to the brain. But it is unclear whether long-term exposure to concentrations that produce comparatively minor symptoms can play a part in accelerating the progress of cardiovascular diseases or lead to significant long-term effects on cardiovascular health in those with diseases of the cardiovascular system.
Whilst it is well known that we spend over 90% of our time in indoor environments, lockdown restrictions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the proportion of time spent in our homes. That the home should be a safe environment that supports wellbeing is now more important than ever.
If increased exposure to carbon monoxide in the home is associated with both accelerated development of cardiovascular disease and with the triggering of an acute clinical event in those with diseases of the cardiovascular system, are patients with cardiovascular disease likely to form a susceptible sub-group of the population: a sub-group at increased likelihood of adverse effects on health? It is hoped that presentations and discussion at this event will address this question by answering a series of questions that will highlight sensible lines of research and action to further clarify the issue.
Focussed discussion questions
This event will focus on addressing the following questions:
- Is it plausible that people suffering from cardiovascular disease will be at increased risk of serious damage to their health if exposed to increased concentrations of carbon monoxide?
- Is there evidence to support the contention that people suffering from cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of serious damage to their health if exposed to increased concentrations of carbon monoxide?
- Can those at increased risk be identified?
- Can those at increased risk be protected?
CPD points will be available to those who join the event.