Lactate- or bicarbonate-buffered solutions in continuous extracorporeal renal replacement therapies

H P Kierdorf, C Leue, S Arns
Kidney International. Supplement 1999, (72): S32-6

BACKGROUND: Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRTs) are well accepted for critically ill patients with acute renal failure (ARF). Today, daily fluid exchange in CRRT reaches 30 to 40 liter and more. Therefore, the composition of the substitution/dialysate fluid, often primarily developed either for intermittent treatment or for peritoneal dialysis, becomes more relevant. Lactate (30 to 45 mmol/liter) is frequently used as the buffer because of the high stability of this substance. However, lactate is thought to have negative effects on metabolic and hemodynamic parameters.

METHODS: Published data for different substitution fluids are presented with respect to acidosis and lactate concentration, uremia, and hemodynamic and metabolic alterations.

RESULTS: Only a few studies compare substitution fluids with different buffers. Uremia and acidosis (pH, base excess) were sufficiently controlled during CRRT with an exchange volume of in average 30 liters using either buffer. If patients with severe liver failure and lactic acidosis were excluded, no difference in hemodynamic and metabolic parameters between the solutions occurred. The plasma lactate concentration was elevated during lactate use in some cases, but lactate levels remained within normal limits in patients without liver impairment. The bicarbonate concentration in the solutions should exceed 35 to 40 mmol/liter, as in some cases the buffer capacity of the solutions was inadequate. In patients with severe liver failure or lactic acidosis, solutions with lactate buffer were shown not to be indicated.

CONCLUSION: In patients with reduced lactate metabolism, for example, concomitant severe liver failure, after liver transplantation or in lactic acidosis, bicarbonate-buffered solutions should be used. In nearly all other cases of critically ill patients with ARF, lactate-buffered solutions may be used as well as bicarbonate solutions.

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