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Lactate levels as a marker of tissue hypoperfusion in acute heart failure patients seen in the emergency department: a pilot study

Kori Sauser, Lora Alkhawam, Linda Pierchala, Peter S. Pang
  • Kori Sauser
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
  • Lora Alkhawam
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, United States
  • Linda Pierchala
    Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, United States
  • Peter S. Pang
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, United States |


Acute heart failure (AHF) may lead to subclinical tissue ischemia due to hypoperfusion from inadequate forward flow or congestion. The aim of the present study is to test whether lactate levels are elevated in emergency department (ED) patients with AHF. A prospective pilot study of ED AHF patients was conducted. Venous lactate level was measured at baseline and 6-12 hours after initial draw. Of the 50 patients enrolled, mean age was 65.3 years, 68% were male. Only 7 (14%) had an elevated lactate on either draw, with no differences in baseline characteristics between patients with and without elevated lactate. Patients with an elevated lactate had a higher mean heart rate (99 vs 81, P=0.03) and trended toward an increased rate of abnormal initial temperature (57 vs 23%, P=0.06). In this pilot study, only a minority of acute HF patients had an elevated lactate on presentation.


Acute heart failure; Lactate; Emergency department; Hypoperfusion

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Submitted: 2015-07-25 21:54:07
Published: 2016-04-14 13:18:21
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Copyright (c) 2016 Kori Sauser, Lora Alkhawam, Linda Pierchala, Peter S. Pang

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