Providing oxygen to reduce the levels of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream is just one part of treatment. Damage to the brain and heart from a lack of oxygen in the blood during carbon monoxide poisoning requires treatment as well.
Depending on the severity of the poisoning, patients could need support for brain and cardiac function. Some patients will need treatment for brain swelling, which could include medications and admission to the intensive care unit.
The heart is sensitive to a lack of oxygen. Patients could experience cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), which could be treated in the hospital with medication or electrical therapy.
High levels of free oxygen in the bloodstream—oxygen molecules that are not bound to hemoglobin, also known as free radicals—can also increase inflammation. This adds to the potential need for cardiac intervention.