UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Outcomes of post-cardiac surgery patients with persistent hyperlactatemia in the intensive care unit: a matched cohort study Mak, Nicole T J J; Iqbal, Sameena; de Varennes, Benoit; Khwaja, Kosar


Background: Higher morbidity and mortality rates are seen amongst patients presenting with hyperlactatemia in the postoperative period. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between persistent elevations in lactate and poor ICU outcome in post-cardiac surgery patients. Methods: This was a retrospective matched cohort analysis of cardiac surgery patients undergoing bypass and/or valve surgery in a university hospital centre. Selection criteria were: cardiac bypass and/or valve surgery; admission to the ICU for > 24 h postoperatively; and peak lactate ≥ 3.0 mmol/L. Hyperlactatemic patients were matched to 2 normolactatemic patients. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used to determine predictors of hyperlactatemia and mortality. Results: Four hundred sixty-nine post-cardiac surgery patients were admitted to the ICU for > 24 h. 144 of these patients had an arterial blood lactate ≥ 3.0 mmol/L. Amongst the mortalities, 78.9 % presented with hyperlactatemia. Independent risk factors predictive of a lactate ≥3.0 mmol/L were preoperative IABP insertion (RR 2.8, CI 1.1–7.2) and postoperative acute kidney injury (RR 3.2, CI 2.1–5.4). Patients whose lactate concentrations continued to increase >30 h postoperatively were more likely to die (RR 8.44 CI 2.50–28.53). Conclusions: The persistence of hyperlactatemia is a more important determinant of postoperative outcome than the absolute value of the peak lactate concentration. A simple postoperative lactate washout does not sufficiently explain this lactate accumulation. Mortality is proposed to be secondary to a state of ongoing hypoperfusion.

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