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Carboxyhaemoglobin and plasma thiocyanate: complementary indicators of smoking behaviour?
  1. Y Saloojee,
  2. C J Vesey,
  3. P V Cole,
  4. M A Russell


    Carboxyhaemoglobin and plasma thiocyanate concentrations were measured in 79 non-smokers and 360 cigarette smokers. The mean levels were 0.73% and 7.09% carboxyhaemoglobin and 40 . 2 and 133 . 8 mumol thiocyanate/1 plasma respectively. With 1 . 6% carboxyhaemoglobin and 73 . 0 mumol thiocyanate/1 plasma as critical values the concentrations of carboxyhaemoglobin in 96.6% of subjects and of thiocyanate in 93.4% were compatible with reported smoking status. This difference between the two tests is significant (p less than 0 . 005). Statistical combination of the carboxyhaemoglobin and thiocyanate results, with the use of linear discrimination analysis, only marginally improved their diagnostic efficiency (96.8% of subjects were grouped correctly). This analysis did, however, successfully regroup 21 of 26 individuals with contradictory carboxyhaemoglobin and thiocyanate classifications. It is concluded that in this study determination of thiocyanate added little to the information obtained from carboxyhaemoglobin measurements alone.

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