Mood Emot 2020 Nov; 18(3): 100-109
Clinical Characteristics of People Who Attempted Suicide by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Korea
Hwayeon Jo, MD, PhD1 , Kounseok Lee, MD, PhD1 , Sujin Son, MD1 , Hyunggoo Kang, MD, PhD2 , Seokhyeon Kim, MD, PhD1 , Sungwon Roh, MD, PhD1
1Department of Psychiatry, Hanyang University College of Medicine, 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: Sungwon Roh, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, Hanyang University College of Medicine, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 04763, Korea
TEL +82-2-2290-8422 FAX +82-2-2298-2055 E-mail ORCID
Received: October 27, 2020; Revised: November 5, 2020; Accepted: November 5, 2020; Published online: November 30, 2020.
© Korean Society for Affective Disorders. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: The rate of suicide by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is increasing rapidly in Korea. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics of suicide attempters in Korea and to identify risk groups for choosing CO poisoning as a suicide method.
Methods: Patients who visited the emergency department after attempting suicide between April 2017 and June 2019 were included in this study. We reviewed the medical records and evaluated the demographic and clinical data of suicide attempters. Cross-tabulation analyses and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed.
Results: Statistically significant risk groups for suicide by CO poisoning were men (odds ratios [OR], 1.71), those who were 25-44 years of age (OR, 7.35), those with no psychiatric history (OR, 2.12), and those who made a suicide plan (OR, 7.70). Among suicide attempters grouped according to psychiatric diagnoses, those with adjustment disorders were most likely and those with psychosis were least likely to choose CO poisoning as the suicide method.
Conclusion: To prevent a CO poisoning suicide attempt, it seems warranted to develop a tool to screen patients for suicide risk as part of a regular health checkup so that early intervention can be provided.
Keywords: Carbon monoxide poisoning; Suicide; Clinical characteristics; Risk; Charcoal

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