From the Journals

Delays in lactate measurement ups mortality risk in sepsis patients



For patients with sepsis who have initial abnormal lactates, delays in lactate measurement were associated with delayed treatment and progressive mortality increases, findings of a retrospective study show.

Those patients had a longer time to administration of IV fluids (IVF) and antibiotics, researchers reported in the journal Chest®.

In previous studies, delayed antibiotics in patients with sepsis has been associated with increased mortality, wrote Xuan Han, MD, department of medicine, University of Chicago, and coauthors. “Systematic early lactate measurements when a patient presents with sepsis may thus be useful in prompting earlier, potentially life-saving interventions,” they noted.

The retrospective study comprised 5,762 adults admitted to the University of Chicago from November 2008 to January 2016. These patients met criteria for severe sepsis, as outlined in the Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Early Management Bundle (SEP-1), a quality measure introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2015. The SEP-1 mandates interventions including lactate draws and antibiotics for patients identified as having severe sepsis via clinical and laboratory evaluation, the authors noted.

They found that 60% of these patients had serum lactate measurements drawn within the time window specified in SEP-1. But timelines varied significantly by setting, at just 32% in patients who first met the criteria on the wards, compared with 55% in the ICU, and 79% in the emergency department.

In-hospital mortality was highest in patients with delayed lactate measurements, at 29%, compared with 27% for those with lactates taken within the specified time window, and 23% for patients without lactate samples (P less than .01), the researchers reported.

For patients with initial lactates greater than 2.0 mmol/L, the increase in odds of death was 2% for each hour of delay, while no such increase was noted in patients with initial lactates lower than that threshold.

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