How are lactate levels measured in lactic acidosis?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020
  • Author: Bret A Nicks, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Answer

With the onset of bedside serum lactate analyzers, measurements can be obtained in minutes with excellent correlation with traditional measurements. Studies have been performed to predict required hospital admission and mortality, but they were unable to define a lactate level below which a patient could be safely discharged from the emergency department. The lactate level should be used only as a single tool in combination with clinical findings and other measures of circulatory failure rather than as a decisive indicator of disease severity. It provides unique information related to improving perfusion and resuscitation, but this must be taken in context of the clinical scenario and may require serial assessments concurrent with the changes in the patient's clinical presentation.


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