Profound Metabolic Acidosis due to Metformin Intoxication Requiring Dialysis

Klodia Hermez, Carla Dudash-Mion
Case Reports in Nephrology 2021, 2021: 9914982
Metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) is a rare but life-threatening condition with often high mortality rates. Despite this, metformin continues to be one of the most commonly prescribed antihyperglycemic agents in the market. We present a unique case of a 61-year-old female with severe acidosis of pH = 6.72 and lactic acid of 26 mmol/L who presented obtunded after ingestion of an unknown amount of metformin. She was subsequently intubated, became hypotensive, and was initiated on vasopressors. She was swiftly started on a combination of intermittent hemodialysis (IHD) and bicarbonate therapy 7 hours after admission followed by continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) as she became more hemodynamically unstable. The patient's renal function improved, and she was discharged 7 days after admission with favorable sequelae. Dialysis is often reported in cases of severe MALA; however, it remains unclear how quickly dialysis should be initiated. This case aims to explore the benefits of quick initiation of extracorporeal measures in the forms of IHD and CRRT with concurrent bicarbonate supplementation. Furthermore, this case demonstrates the importance of clinical suspicion in metabolic acidosis in a patient on metformin therapy.

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