Lactate concentration gradient from right atrium to pulmonary artery.

Guillermo Gutierrez, Lakhmir S. Chawla, Michael G. Seneff, Nevin M. Katz, Hasan Zia

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9 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: We compared simultaneous measurements of blood lactate concentration ([Lac]) in the right atrium (RA) and in the pulmonary artery (PA). Our aim was to determine if the mixing of right atrial with coronary venous blood, having substantially lower [Lac], results in detectable decreases in [Lac] from the RA to the PA. METHODS: A prospective, sequential, observational study was conducted in a medical-surgical intensive care unit. We enrolled 45 critically ill adult individuals of either sex requiring pulmonary artery catheters (PACs) to guide fluid therapy. Immediately following the insertion of the PAC, one paired set of blood samples per patient was drawn in random order from the PAC's proximal and distal ports for measurement of hemoglobin concentration, O2 saturation (SO2) and [Lac]. We defined Delta[Lac] as ([Lac]ra - [Lac]pa), DeltaSO2 as (SraO2 - SpaO2) and the change in O2 consumption (DeltaVO2) as the difference in systemic VO2 calculated using Fick's equation with either SraO2 or SpaO2 in place of mixed venous SO2. Data were compared by paired Student's t-test, Spearman's correlation analysis and by the method of Bland and Altman. RESULTS: We found SraO2 > SpaO2 (74.2 +/- 9.1 versus 69.0 +/- 10.4%; p <0.001) and [Lac]ra > [Lac]pa (3.9 +/- 3.0 versus 3.7 +/- 3.0 mmol x l-1; p <0.001). Delta[Lac] correlated with DeltaVO2 (r2 = 0.34; p <0.001). CONCLUSION: We found decreases in [Lac] from the RA to PA in this sample of critically ill individuals. We conclude that parallel decreases in SO2 and [Lac] from the RA to PA support the hypothesis that these gradients are produced by mixing RA with coronary venous blood of lower SO2 and [Lac]. The present study is a preliminary observation of this phenomenon and further work is needed to define the physiological and clinical significance of Delta[Lac].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCritical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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