YouTube as a source of information on carbon monoxide poisoning: a content-quality analysis
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Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland (Neurosurgery Department)
University of Bielsko-Biala, Bielsko-Biała, Poland (Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Emergency Medicine)
Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (Military Medical Faculty)
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Toxicology)
Online publication date: 2022-02-03
Corresponding author
Anna Krakowiak   

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Toxicology, św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(3):285-95
Objectives: The variety of clinical presentation on the topic of carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication ranges from slight headache to coma or death. YouTube allows patients to search not only for entertainment but also medical advice. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the content and quality of YouTube videos concerning CO poisoning as a source of knowledge for non-medical audience. Material and Methods: On the December 8, 2020 a YouTube search was conducted for the following phrases: “carbon monoxide poisoning,” “carbon monoxide symptoms,” “CO poisoning,” “carbon monoxide asphyxiation,” “carbon monoxide intoxication” using the “incognito mode” and without attachment to Google Account. The search results were set as: “default” in the YouTube browser. The first 50 results were taken into consideration. Two raters, a specialist in emergency medicine and a specialist in clinical toxicology rated videos with Quality Criteria for Consumer Health Information (DISCERN), Global Quality Score (GQS) and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). “VidIQ Vision for YouTube” plug-in was used. Results: Ninety-five videos were included. The interclass coefficient for DISCERN, GQS and JAMA scores were: 0.8, 0.74 and 0.62 reaching good and moderate reliability. The mean DISCERN/GQS/JAMA was 28.1 (SD 7.9), 2.5 (SD 0.8) and 1.1 (SD 0.7) respectively. Higher DISCERN/GQS/JAMA had videos providing information on: exposure time, treatment options, hyperbaric chamber indications as well as physician speaker (p < 0.05). Video Power Index was higher when the video contained animations and presented patients own history of CO exposure but not influenced the DISCERN/ GQS/JAMA scores. Videos providing misleading information had a higher like ratio. Conclusions: The overall video quality was poor indicating inappropriate educational and informative value for patients who search information about carbon monoxide poisoning. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(3):285–95
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