What causes elevated lactate levels following smoke inhalation?

Updated: Oct 15, 2021
  • Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Elevated lactate levels may result from metabolic acidosis secondary to the following:

  • Hypoxia

  • CO

  • Cyanide (CN)

  • Methemoglobinemia

  • Inadequate resuscitation

  • Unrecognized trauma

Lactate levels associated with CN poisoning have been reported as being above 8 mmol/L. [12] The concentration of lactate increases proportionally with the degree of CN poisoning, and lactate levels higher than 10 mmol/L are a sensitive indicator of CN levels higher than 1 mg/mg. [40] Note that in most institutions, CN levels can take hours to days for results; therefore, one must rely on clinical and indirect laboratory data.

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