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Effect of Sodium Bicarbonate Administration on Mortality in Patients with Lactic Acidosis: A Retrospective Analysis
Published: Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Author: Hyun Jeong Kim et al.

by Hyun Jeong Kim, Young Ki Son, Won Suk An


Lactic acidosis is a common cause of high anion gap metabolic acidosis. Sodium bicarbonate may be considered for an arterial pH <7.15 but paradoxically depresses cardiac performance and exacerbates acidosis by enhancing lactate production. This study aimed to evaluate the cause and mortality rate of lactic acidosis and to investigate the effect of factors, including sodium bicarbonate use, on death.


We conducted a single center analysis from May 2011 through April 2012. We retrospectively analyzed 103 patients with lactic acidosis among 207 patients with metabolic acidosis. We used SOFA and APACHE II as severity scores to estimate illness severity. Multivariate logistic regression analysis and Cox regression analysis models were used to identify factors that affect mortality.


Of the 103 patients with a mean age of 66.1±11.4 years, eighty-three patients (80.6%) died from sepsis (61.4%), hepatic failure, cardiogenic shock and other causes. The percentage of sodium bicarbonate administration (p?=?0.006), catecholamine use, ventilator care and male gender were higher in the non-survival group than the survival group. The non-survival group had significantly higher initial and follow-up lactic acid levels, lower initial albumin, higher SOFA scores and APACHE II scores than the survival group. The mortality rate was significantly higher in patients who received sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate administration (p?=?0.016) was associated with higher mortality. Independent factors that affected mortality were SOFA score (Exp (B)?=?1.72, 95% CI?=?1.12–2.63, p?=?0.013) and sodium bicarbonate administration (Exp (B)?=?6.27, 95% CI?=?1.10–35.78, p?=?0.039).


Lactic acidosis, which has a high mortality rate, should be evaluated in patients with metabolic acidosis. In addition, sodium bicarbonate should be prescribed with caution in the case of lactic acidosis because sodium bicarbonate administration may affect mortality.