Lactic acidosis after cardiac surgery is associated with adverse outcome
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Background: The accurate identification of patients who have the potential to further deteriorate after cardiac surgery is difficult. Elevated serum lactate level after cardiac surgery is an indicator of systemic hypoperfusion and tissue hypoxia. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of increased serum lactate on outcome after on-pump coronary artery bypass grafting. Methods: Serum lactate level was measured in 776 patients within half an hour after surgery. Lactate level was less than or equal to 2 mmol/L in 534 patients ( low lactate group) and more than 2 mmol/L in 242 patients ( high lactate group). Continuous variables were analyzed with the Student t test. The chi(2) test and Fisher exact test were used to compare categorical variables. Results: Demographic characteristics and details of surgery were similar in both groups. Increased cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass times and highly positive fluid balance at the end of surgery were associated with a significant rise in postoperative lactate levels, which leads to increased need for intraaortic balloon pump support ( odds ration [OR], 5.9, P =.006), increased likelihood of > 24 h intensive care unit stay ( OR, 3.4, P =.0001), greater need for red blood cell transfusion ( OR, 1.6, P =.002), increased length of hospital stay, and higher mortality rates ( OR, 5.6, P =.04). Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that elevated blood lactate level is associated with adverse outcome, and monitoring the blood lactate level during and after cardiac surgery is a valuable tool in identifying the patients who have the potential to deteriorate.