The lactic acid test is primarily ordered to help determine if someone has lactic acidosis, a level of lactate that is high enough to disrupt a person's acid-base (pH) balance.
Lactic acid is a product of cell metabolism that can accumulate when cells lack sufficient oxygen (hypoxia) and must turn to a less efficient means of energy production, or when a condition causes excess production or impaired clearance of lactate.
Depending on pH, it is sometimes present in the form of lactic acid. However, with the neutral pH maintained by the body, most lactic acid will be present in the blood as lactate.
Lactic acidosis is most commonly caused by an inadequate amount of oxygen in cells and tissues (hypoxia). If someone has a condition that may lead to a decreased amount of oxygen delivered to cells and tissues, such as shock or congestive heart failure, this test can be used to help detect and evaluate the severity of hypoxia and lactic acidosis. It may be ordered along with blood gases to evaluate a person's acid/base balance and oxygenation.
As lactic acidosis may also be caused by conditions unrelated to oxygen levels, this test may be used to evaluate someone who has a disease that can lead to increased lactate levels and who has signs and symptoms of acidosis
The lactate test may also be used as part of an initial evaluation of someone who is suspected of having sepsis.
Lactate levels may be ordered at intervals to help monitor hypoxia and response to treatment in a person being treated for an acute condition, such as sepsis, shock or heart attack, or a chronic condition, such as severe congestive heart failure.
A lactate test may be ordered when someone has signs and symptoms of inadequate oxygen (hypoxia) such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Abdominal pain
The test may be ordered when a person has signs and symptoms that are suspected to be related to: sepsis, shock, heart attack, severe congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or uncontrolled diabetes.
For more information on this test, visit labtestsonline.org
No preparation needed