Lactic acidosis: an update

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Abstract

Lactate is one of the most crucial intermediates in carbohydrate and nonessential amino acid metabolism. The complexity of cellular interactions and metabolism means that lactate can be considered a waste product for one cell but a useful substrate for another. The presence of elevated lactate levels in critically ill patients has important implications for morbidity and mortality. In this review, we provide a brief outline of the metabolism of lactate, the pathophysiology of lactic acidosis, the clinical significance of D-lactate, the role of lactate measurement in acutely ill patients, the methods used to measure lactate in blood or plasma and some of the methodological issues related to interferences in these assays, especially in the case of ethylene glycol poisoning.

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