Question: How might intra-operative carbon monoxide exposure occur during general endotracheal anesthesia?
Answer: The cited reference reports, “Exposure to carbon monoxide during general anesthesia may result from volatile anesthetic degradation by carbon dioxide absorbents and rebreathing of endogenously produce d CO. Although adherence to the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation guidelines reduces the risk of CO poisoning, patients may still experience subtoxic CO exposure during low-flow anesthesia. The consequences of such exposures are relatively unknown.” (Levy RJ. Anesthesia-related carbon monoxide exposure: Toxicity and potential therapy. 2016 Anesth Analg 123:670-681)