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Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Diabetes and Endocrinology

Management of Metformin-Associated Lactic Acidosis by Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy
Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011
Author: Geoffray Keller et al.

by Geoffray Keller, Martin Cour, Romain Hernu, Julien Illinger, Dominique Robert, Laurent Argaud


Metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) is a severe metabolic failure with high related mortality. Although its use is controversial, intermittent hemodialysis is reported to be the most frequently used treatment in conjunction with nonspecific supportive measures. Our aim was to report the evolution and outcome of cases managed by continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).

Methodology and Principal Findings

Over a 3-year period, we retrospectively identified patients admitted to the intensive care unit for severe lactic acidosis caused by metformin. We included patients in our study who were treated with CRRT because of shock. We describe their clinical and biological features at admission and during renal support, as well as their evolution. We enrolled six patients with severe lactic acidosis; the mean pH and mean lactate was 6.92±0.20 and 14.4±5.1 mmol/l, respectively. Patients had high illness severity scores, including the Simplified Acute Physiology Score II (SAPS II) (average score 63±12 points). Early CRRT comprised either venovenous hemofiltration (n?=?3) or hemodiafiltration (n?=?3) with a mean effluent flow rate of 34±6 ml/kg/h. Metabolic acidosis control and metformin elimination was rapid and there was no rebound. Outcome was favorable in all cases.

Conclusions and Significance

Standard use of CRRT efficiently treated MALA in association with symptomatic organ supportive therapies.