Lactic Acidosis: Background, Etiology, Epidemiology
Author: Kyle J Gunnerson, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, MCCM more... In basic terms, lactic acid is the normal endpoint of the anaerobic breakdown of glucose in the tissues. The lactate exits the cells and is transported to the liver, where it is oxidized back to pyruvate and ultimately converted to glucose via the Cori cycle. In the setting of decreased tissue oxygenation, lactic acid is produced as the anaerobic cycle is utilized for energy production. With a persistent oxygen debt and overwhelming of the body's buffering abilities (whether from chronic dysfunction or excessive production), lactic acidosis ensues. [ 1 , 2 ] (See Etiology.) Lactic acid exists in 2 optical isomeric forms, L-lactate and D-lactate. L-lactate is the most commonly measured level, as it is the only form produced in human metabolism. Its excess represents increased anaerobic metabolism due to tissue hypoperfusion. (See Workup.) D-lactate is a byproduct of bacterial metabolism and may accumulate in patients with short-gut syndrome or in those with a history of gastric bypass or small-bowel resection. [ 3 ] By the turn of the 20th century, many physicians recognized that patients who are critically ill could exhibit metabolic acidosis unaccompanied by elevation of ketones or other measurable anions. In 1925, Clausen identified the accumulation of lactic acid in blood as a cause of acid-base disorder. Several decades later, Huckabee's seminal work firmly established that lactic acidosis frequently accompanies severe illnesses and that tissue hypoperfusion underlies the pathogenesis. In their classic 1976 monograph, Cohen and Woods classified the causes of lactic acidosis according to the presence or absence of adequate tissue oxygenation. (See Presentationand Differe Continue reading >>
An Unusual Case Of Severe (fatal) Metabolic Acidosis
An unusual case of severe (fatal) metabolic acidosis Summarized from Saidi H, Mani M. Severe metabolic acidosis secondary to coadministration of creatine and metformin, a case report. Amer J Emerg Med 2010; 28: 388. e5-388. e6. Metabolic acidosis, the most common disturbance of acid-base balance among the critically ill, is characterized by arterial blood gas results that reveal primary decrease in bicarbonate and compensatory decrease in pCO2(a). Blood pH is reduced unless respiratory compensation is complete. It is most often the result of lactic acid accumulation due to circulatory collapse but there are many other causes. A recently published case history describes metabolic (lactic) acidosis occurring in a 42-year-old man. The cause was attributed to the net effect of two drugs: creatine and metformin. The first is commonly self-prescribed by athletes and body builders to improve muscle capacity; and the second is a blood glucose-lowering agent prescribed for diabetes management. This previously healthy man was self-prescribing creatine (5 g/day), when he became ill and was admitted to hospital. Diabetes was diagnosed, stabilized and the patient was discharged in a healthy state with a prescription for metformin 500 mg twice daily. Three weeks later he was admitted emergently to hospital in a critically ill state. Blood gas results (reduced pH 7.25; reduced bicarbonate 12 mmol/L; reducedpCO2(a) 3.5 kPa; and markedly increased blood lactate 17.2 mmol/L) confirmed partially compensated metabolic (lactic) acidosis. He had no urine output, and raised serum creatinine (309 mmol/L) confirmed acute renal failure. Due to his deteriorating condition he was urgently transferred for dialysis with bicarbonate replacement, but suffered cardiac arrest and sadly died before comp Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment
Lactic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much lactic acid and cannot metabolize it quickly enough. The condition can be a medical emergency. The onset of lactic acidosis might be rapid and occur within minutes or hours, or gradual, happening over a period of days. The best way to treat lactic acidosis is to find out what has caused it. Untreated lactic acidosis can result in severe and life-threatening complications. In some instances, these can escalate rapidly. It is not necessarily a medical emergency when caused by over-exercising. The prognosis for lactic acidosis will depend on its underlying cause. A blood test is used to diagnose the condition. Lactic acidosis symptoms that may indicate a medical emergency include a rapid heart rate and disorientaiton. Typically, symptoms of lactic acidosis do not stand out as distinct on their own but can be indicative of a variety of health issues. However, some symptoms known to occur in lactic acidosis indicate a medical emergency. Lactic acidosis can occur in people whose kidneys are unable to get rid of excess acid. Even when not related to just a kidney condition, some people's bodies make too much lactic acid and are unable to balance it out. Diabetes increases the risk of developing lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis may develop in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus , especially if their diabetes is not well controlled. There have been reports of lactic acidosis in people who take metformin, which is a standard non-insulin medication for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the incidence is low, with equal to or less than 10 cases per 100,000 patient-years of using the drug, according to a 2014 report in the journal Metabolism. The incidence of lactic acidosis is higher in people with diabetes who Continue reading >>
What Is Lactic Acidosis?: Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
What is lactic acidosis? It is a condition where lactate builds up in the body which leads to extremely low pH levels in the blood. Normally, your blood is alkaline or slightly basic. Lactic acidosis occurs when your blood is much more acidic than usual. Changes in blood pH levels can adversely affect your body’s organs. Lactic acidosis is a form of metabolic acidosis characterized by excessive accumulation of acid as a result of the body failing to metabolize lactic acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is a medical state that occurs when there is reduced systemic pH because of a decrease in bicarbonate or an increase in hydrogen ion concentration. Accumulation of lactic acids happens when there is inadequate oxygen in the muscles that is required to break down the glycogen and glucose for energy. In a normal body, lactate will exit muscle cells and travel to the liver, where it will be oxidized to pyruvate, and later converted to glucose. Glucose refers to a form of sugar which is one of the main sources of energy for the body. When there is reduced oxygen in the tissue, there will be a build up of lactic acid. This medical condition usually starts in the kidneys. Lactic acidosis normally occurs when the kidneys fail to excrete excess acids from the body. As a result, lactic acid accumulates in the body faster than it is removed. This build up of lactic acid leads to a pH imbalance in the body. There are two forms of lactic acid, that is D-lactate and L-lactate. D-lactate is a form produced in bacterial metabolism and may build up in patients who have had a gastric bypass or have short gut syndrome. On the other hand, L-lactic is produced from human metabolism. Both L-lactic and D-lactic are produced from pyruvate and metabolized to pyruvate by an enzyme known as lactate deh Continue reading >>
Metformin-induced Lactic Acidosis: No One Left Behind
Abstract Metformin is a safe drug when correctly used in properly selected patients. In real life, however, associated lactic acidosis has been repeatedly, although rarely, reported. The term metformin-induced lactic acidosis refers to cases that cannot be explained by any major risk factor other than drug accumulation, usually due to renal failure. Treatment consists of vital function support and drug removal, mainly achieved by renal replacement therapy. Despite dramatic clinical presentation, the prognosis of metformin-induced lactic acidosis is usually surprisingly good. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Friesecke and colleagues demonstrate that the survival rate of patients with severe lactic acidosis due to metformin accumulation can be strikingly higher than expected based on the initial clinical evaluation . Metformin is nowadays the first-line drug of choice for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes . This drug is the sixth most frequently prescribed in the USA (> 50 million prescriptions in 2009) and is taken by almost 1.5% of the Italian population [3, 4]. Metformin is a safe drug when correctly used in properly selected patients. In particular, no cases of lactic acidosis (a relatively common side effect of other biguanide compounds) were reported in 347 trials with 70,490 patient-years of metformin use . Real life can differ from research settings, however, and lactic acidosis has been repeatedly, although rarely, observed in patients treated with metformin. The number of inquiries to the Swedish Poison Information Centre for metformin intoxication has increased 10 times during the past decade, with 25 cases of severe lactic acidosis reported in 2007 and 2008 . According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, metform Continue reading >>
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Causes Of Lactic Acidosis
INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITION Lactate levels greater than 2 mmol/L represent hyperlactatemia, whereas lactic acidosis is generally defined as a serum lactate concentration above 4 mmol/L. Lactic acidosis is the most common cause of metabolic acidosis in hospitalized patients. Although the acidosis is usually associated with an elevated anion gap, moderately increased lactate levels can be observed with a normal anion gap (especially if hypoalbuminemia exists and the anion gap is not appropriately corrected). When lactic acidosis exists as an isolated acid-base disturbance, the arterial pH is reduced. However, other coexisting disorders can raise the pH into the normal range or even generate an elevated pH. (See "Approach to the adult with metabolic acidosis", section on 'Assessment of the serum anion gap' and "Simple and mixed acid-base disorders".) Lactic acidosis occurs when lactic acid production exceeds lactic acid clearance. The increase in lactate production is usually caused by impaired tissue oxygenation, either from decreased oxygen delivery or a defect in mitochondrial oxygen utilization. (See "Approach to the adult with metabolic acidosis".) The pathophysiology and causes of lactic acidosis will be reviewed here. The possible role of bicarbonate therapy in such patients is discussed separately. (See "Bicarbonate therapy in lactic acidosis".) PATHOPHYSIOLOGY A review of the biochemistry of lactate generation and metabolism is important in understanding the pathogenesis of lactic acidosis . Both overproduction and reduced metabolism of lactate appear to be operative in most patients. Cellular lactate generation is influenced by the "redox state" of the cell. The redox state in the cellular cytoplasm is reflected by the ratio of oxidized and reduced nicotine ad Continue reading >>
Hiv And Lactic Acidosis
What is lactic acidosis? Lactic acidosis is a condition caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the blood. The condition is a rare but serious side effect of some HIV medicines. HIV medicines in the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drug class can cause the body to produce too much lactic acid. NRTIs can also damage the liver so that it can’t break down a molecule called lactate, leading to a buildup of lactic acid in the blood. If you are taking NRTIs, it’s important to know about lactic acidosis. Although lactic acidosis is a rare side effect of NRTIs, the condition can be life-threatening. Are there other risk factors for lactic acidosis? In addition to use of some HIV medicines, risk factors for lactic acidosis include the following: What are the symptoms of lactic acidosis? Lactic acidosis often develops gradually. Early signs of lactic acidosis can include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, and weight loss. These symptoms may not seem serious, but they can be the first signs of life-threatening lactic acidosis. If you are taking HIV medicines, always tell your health care provider about any symptoms that you are having—even symptoms that may not seem serious. Lactic acidosis can advance rapidly. Signs of dangerously high levels of lactate in the blood include: Above-normal heart rate Rapid breathing Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes) Muscle weakness If you are taking HIV medicines and have any of these symptoms, get medical help immediately. What tests are used to detect lactic acidosis? Tests used to diagnose lactic acidosis include: A test to measure the level of lactate in the blood Other blood tests to check the functioning of the liver What is the treatment for lactic acidosis? An HIV medicine that is ca Continue reading >>
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Lactic Acid | Michigan Medicine
A lactic acid test is a blood test that measures the level of lactic acid made in the body. Most of it is made by muscle tissue and red blood cells . When the oxygen level in the body is normal, carbohydrate breaks down into water and carbon dioxide. When the oxygen level is low, carbohydrate breaks down for energy and makes lactic acid. Lactic acid levels get higher when strenuous exercise or other conditionssuch as heart failure , a severe infection ( sepsis ), or shock lower the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. Lactic acid levels can also get higher when the liver is severely damaged or diseased, because the liver normally breaks down lactic acid. Very high levels of lactic acid cause a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis can also occur in a person who takes metformin (Glucophage) to control diabetes when heart or kidney failure or a severe infection is also present. A lactic acid test is generally done on a blood sample taken from a vein in the arm but it may also be done on a sample of blood taken from an artery ( arterial blood gas ). Check for lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include rapid breathing, excessive sweating, cool and clammy skin, sweet-smelling breath, belly pain, nausea or vomiting, confusion, and coma. See whether the right amount of oxygen is reaching the body's tissues. Find the cause for a high amount of acid (low pH ) in the blood. Do not eat or drink anything other than water for 8 to 10 hours before the test. Do not exercise for several hours before the test. Do not clench your fist while having your blood drawn for a lactic acid test. These activities may change the results. The health professional drawing blood will: Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop Continue reading >>
Background In basic terms, lactic acid is the normal endpoint of the anaerobic breakdown of glucose in the tissues. The lactate exits the cells and is transported to the liver, where it is oxidized back to pyruvate and ultimately converted to glucose via the Cori cycle. In the setting of decreased tissue oxygenation, lactic acid is produced as the anaerobic cycle is utilized for energy production. With a persistent oxygen debt and overwhelming of the body's buffering abilities (whether from chronic dysfunction or excessive production), lactic acidosis ensues. [1, 2] (See Etiology.) Lactic acid exists in 2 optical isomeric forms, L-lactate and D-lactate. L-lactate is the most commonly measured level, as it is the only form produced in human metabolism. Its excess represents increased anaerobic metabolism due to tissue hypoperfusion. (See Workup.) D-lactate is a byproduct of bacterial metabolism and may accumulate in patients with short-gut syndrome or in those with a history of gastric bypass or small-bowel resection.  By the turn of the 20th century, many physicians recognized that patients who are critically ill could exhibit metabolic acidosis unaccompanied by elevation of ketones or other measurable anions. In 1925, Clausen identified the accumulation of lactic acid in blood as a cause of acid-base disorder. Several decades later, Huckabee's seminal work firmly established that lactic acidosis frequently accompanies severe illnesses and that tissue hypoperfusion underlies the pathogenesis. In their classic 1976 monograph, Cohen and Woods classified the causes of lactic acidosis according to the presence or absence of adequate tissue oxygenation. (See Presentation and Differentials.) The causes of lactic acidosis are listed in the chart below. Go to Acute Lactic Ac Continue reading >>
Can Lactic Acidosis Kill You
Here's a taste of what TheBody.com has to offer on this topic: Is My Physicians treatment too aggressive? Dr. Boyle,I am 38 years old and tested positive for HIV in late 1997. I was already full blown with a CD4 count of 47 and a viral load in excess of 600,000 copies per ml. My physican has been great but finds me to be a challenging patient because... Cornell University, Weill Medical College ...in view of your having been on so many antiretrovirals in the past and your limited treatment options due to your history of lactic acidosis and antiretroviral intolearnce. I would try to continue this regimen, with continued efforts to... Read more "What you dont know can kill you" and a further donation (WHAT YOU DONT KNOW CAN KILL YOU) Hi Dr BobI wrote you last week to say that after over a year of feeling really ill following some risky sexual behaviour - Shingles,chronic fatigue, joint aches, gum disease, rash etc etc, and being 100% convinced I had HIV I still couldn`t bring... The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ...sharing your experience with the readers of this forum. Hopefully your true-life testimonial of "what you don't know about HIV can kill you" will give many others a swift kick in the ass so they too will get tested.The three primary reasons to... Read more I have been followed by an HIV specialist for more than 20 years, the last 12 of which have been HIV+ and treated (Undetectable viral load) with an AZT-containing regimen" I have had complaints of muscle weakness and pain, debilitating fatigue,... University of Minnesota, School of Medicine ...Lactic acidosis is relatively easy to diagnose with properly collected blood tests. Your symptoms could be but seem unlikely to be due to AZT Read more Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis - Endocrine And Metabolic Disorders - Merck Manuals Professional Edition
By James L. Lewis, III, MD, Attending Physician, Brookwood Baptist Health and Saint Vincents Ascension Health, Birmingham Lactate is a normal byproduct of glucose and amino acid metabolism. There are 2 main types of lactic acidosis: d-Lactic acidosis (d-lactate encephalopathy) is an unusual form of lactic acidosis. Type A lactic acidosis, the most serious form, occurs when lactic acid is overproduced in ischemic tissueas a byproduct of anaerobic generation of ATP during oxygen deficit. Overproduction typically occurs during global tissue hypoperfusion in hypovolemic, cardiac, or septic shock and is worsened by decreased lactate metabolism in the poorly perfused liver. It may also occur with primary hypoxia due to lung disease and with various hemoglobinopathies. Type B lactic acidosis occurs in states of normal global tissue perfusion (and hence ATP production) and is less ominous. Causes include local tissue hypoxia (eg, as with vigorous muscle use during exertion, seizures, hypothermic shivering), certain systemic and congenital conditions, cancer, and ingestion of certain drugs or toxins (see Table: Causes of Metabolic Acidosis ). Drugs include the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the biguanides phenformin and, less so, metformin; although phenformin has been removed from the market in most of the world, it is still available from China (including as a component of some Chinese proprietary medicines). Metabolism may be decreased due to hepatic insufficiency or thiamin deficiency. d-Lactic acidosis is an unusual form of lactic acidosis in which d-lactic acid, the product of bacterial carbohydrate metabolism in the colon of patients with jejunoileal bypass or intestinal resection, is systemically absorbed. It persists in circulation because human lactat Continue reading >>
The buildup of lactic acid in the bloodstream. This medical emergency most commonly results from oxygen deprivation in the body’s tissues, impaired liver function, respiratory failure, or cardiovascular disease. It can also be caused by a class of oral diabetes drugs called biguanides, which includes metformin (brand name Glucophage). Another biguanide called phenformin was pulled from the market in the United States in 1977 because of an unacceptably high rate of lactic acidosis associated with its use. Concerns about lactic acidosis also delayed the introduction of metformin to the U.S. market until 1995, despite the fact that it had been widely used for years in other countries. There have been reports of lactic acidosis occurring in people taking metformin, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that lactic acidosis occurs in 5 out of every 100,000 people who use metformin for any length of time. However, this risk is much lower than it was in people taking phenformin, and it is not clear whether the episodes of lactic acidosis associated with metformin have actually been due to metformin use. In fact, the lactic acidosis could have been explained by the person’s diabetes and related medical conditions. Nonetheless, diabetes experts recommend that metformin not be used in people with congestive heart failure, kidney disease, or liver disease. They also recommend that it be discontinued (at least temporarily) in people undergoing certain medical imaging tests called contrast studies. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired or having unusual muscle pain or unusual stomach discomfort. Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis And Exercise: What You Need To Know
Muscle ache, burning, rapid breathing, nausea, stomach pain: If you've experienced the unpleasant feeling of lactic acidosis, you likely remember it. It's temporary. It happens when too much acid builds up in your bloodstream. The most common reason it happens is intense exercise. Symptoms The symptoms may include a burning feeling in your muscles, cramps, nausea, weakness, and feeling exhausted. It's your body's way to tell you to stop what you're doing The symptoms happen in the moment. The soreness you sometimes feel in your muscles a day or two after an intense workout isn't from lactic acidosis. It's your muscles recovering from the workout you gave them. Intense Exercise. When you exercise, your body uses oxygen to break down glucose for energy. During intense exercise, there may not be enough oxygen available to complete the process, so a substance called lactate is made. Your body can convert this lactate to energy without using oxygen. But this lactate or lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can burn it off. The point when lactic acid starts to build up is called the "lactate threshold." Some medical conditions can also bring on lactic acidosis, including: Vitamin B deficiency Shock Some drugs, including metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, and all nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS can cause lactic acidosis. If you are on any of these medications and have any symptoms of lactic acidosis, get medical help immediately. Preventing Lactic Acidosis Begin any exercise routine gradually. Pace yourself. Don't go from being a couch potato to trying to run a marathon in a week. Start with an aerobic exercise like running or fast walking. You can build up your pace and distance slowly. Increase the Continue reading >>
Metformin And Fatal Lactic Acidosis
Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), Dunedin Metformin is a useful anti-hyperglycaemic agent but significant mortality is associated with drug-induced lactic acidosis. Significant renal and hepatic disease, alcoholism and conditions associated with hypoxia (eg. cardiac and pulmonary disease, surgery) are contraindications to the use of metformin. Other risk factors for metformin-induced lactic acidosis are sepsis, dehydration, high dosages and increasing age. Metformin remains a major reported cause of drug-associated mortality in New Zealand. Of the 12 cases of lactic acidosis associated with metformin reported to CARM since 1977, 2 occurred in the last year and 8 cases had a fatal outcome. Metformin useful but small risk of potentially fatal lactic acidosis Metformin is a useful therapeutic agent for obese non-insulin dependent diabetics and those whose glycaemia cannot be controlled by sulphonylurea monotherapy. Lactic acidosis is an uncommon but potentially fatal adverse effect. The reported frequency of lactic acidosis is 0.06 per 1000 patient-years, mostly in patients with predisposing factors. 1 Examples of metformin-induced lactic acidosis cases reported to CARM include: A 69-year-old man, with renal and cardiac disease, was prescribed metformin due to failing glycaemic control on glibenclamide monotherapy. He was well for six weeks, then developed lactic acidosis and died within 3 days. Post-surgical lactic acidosis caused the death of a 70-year-old man whose metformin was not withdrawn at the time of surgery. A 56-year-old woman, with no predisposing disease, died from lactic acidosis following major abdominal surgery. Metformin was withdrawn only for the day of surgery. Ninety percent of metformin is excreted unchanged by the kidneys and lactic ac Continue reading >>