The impact of lactate-buffered high-volume hemofiltration on acid-base balance

Louise Cole, Rinaldo Bellomo, Ian Baldwin, Matthew Hayhoe, Claudio Ronco
Intensive Care Medicine 2003, 29 (7): 1113-20

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of high-volume hemofiltration (HVHF) with lactate-buffered replacement fluids on acid-base balance.

DESIGN: Randomized crossover study.

SETTING: Intensive Care Unit of Tertiary Medical Center

PARTICIPANTS: Ten patients with septic shock and acute renal failure.

INTERVENTIONS: Random allocation to 8 h of isovolemic high-volume hemofiltration (ultrafiltration rate: 6 l/h) or 8 h of isovolemic continuous venovenous hemofiltration (ultrafiltration rate: 1 l/h) with lactate-buffered replacement fluid with subsequent crossover.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: We measured blood gases, electrolytes, albumin, and lactate concentrations and completed quantitative biophysical analysis of acid-base balance changes. Before high-volume hemofiltration, patients had a slight metabolic alkalosis [pH: 7.42; base excess (BE) 2.4 mEq/l] despite hyperlactatemia (lactate: 2.51 mmol/l). After 2 h of high-volume hemofiltration, the mean lactate concentration increased to 7.30 mmol/l ( p=0.0001). However, a decrease in chloride, strong ion difference effective, and strong ion gap (SIG) compensated for the effect of iatrogenic hyperlactatemia so that the pH only decreased to 7.39 ( p=0.05) and the BE to -0.15 ( p=0.001). After 6 h, despite persistent hyperlactatemia (7 mmol/l), the pH had returned to 7.42 and the BE to 2.45 mEq/l. These changes remained essentially stable at 8 h. Similar but less intense changes occurred during continuous venovenous hemofiltration.

CONCLUSIONS: HVHF with lactate-buffered replacement fluids induces iatrogenic hyperlactatemia. However, such hyperlactatemia only has a mild and transient acidifying effect. A decrease in chloride and strong ion difference effective and the removal of unmeasured anions all rapidly compensate for this effect.

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