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POC Lactate: A Marker for Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Guiding Therapy in the Critically Ill

Shirey, Terry L. PhD

Point of Care: The Journal of Near-Patient Testing & Technology: September 2007 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 192-200
doi: 10.1097/poc.0b013e3181271545
Original Articles

Tissue hypoxia, a major concern in critical care medicine, correlates directly with morbidity and mortality. As a biochemical marker that identifies tissue hypoxia, blood lactate is a valuable assay because of the following: (1) it can detect tissue hypoxia and developing shock early in their appearance, (2) it provides prognostic information by giving a semiquantitative estimate of oxygen deficit, (3) it helps with differential diagnosis, and (4) it helps to monitor and direct resuscitation therapy. Rapid measurements of blood lactate at the point of care may be used for admission, early treatment, and triage decisions in the emergency department (acute myocardial infarction, trauma, sepsis, and occult illness), ensuring adequate oxygen delivery to the tissues in the operating room (high-risk surgeries) and monitoring circulatory shock in the intensive care unit (postsurgery, trauma, heart failure, sepsis, transfusion adequacy, and burns). Its value is cited in numerous other clinical applications.

From the Nova Biomedical, Waltham, MA.

Reprints: Terry L. Shirey, PhD, Nova Biomedical, 200 Prospect St, Waltham, MA 02454 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.