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Hyperlactatemia during Cardiopulmonary Bypass: Risk Factors and Impact on Surgical Results with a Focus on the Long-Term Outcome

Lactate, a product of anaerobic metabolism, is a biomarker and indicator for tissue hypoperfusion and oxygen debt. An elevated blood lactate level has been associated with poor outcome in many clinical conditions, including cardiac surgery. Nevertheless, debate exists regarding which blood lactate concentration is most indicative of poor outcomes. We evaluate the impact of hyperlactatemia, defined as a peak arterial blood concentration ⩾2.0 mmol/L during cardiopulmonary bypass, on surgical results with a focus on long-term outcome.

We reviewed 1,099 consecutive adult patients who underwent cardiac surgery on pump. The patients were divided into two groups based on the presence or not of hyperlactatemia. Pre- and intraoperative risk factors for hyperlactatemia were identified, and the postoperative outcome of patients with or without hyperlactatemia was compared.

Hyperlactatemia was present in 372 patients (33.8%). Factors independently associated with hyperlactatemia were urgent/emergency procedure, cardiopulmonary bypass duration and aortic cross-clamp time. Patients with hyperlactatemia had significantly higher rate of prolonged mechanical ventilation time, in-hospital stay and requirement of inotropes and intra-aortic balloon pump support (p < 0.001). Operative (30-day) mortality was higher in the group of patients with hyperlactatemia (7.8% vs. 1.1%; p < 0.001). Kaplan–Meier curve showed worse long-term survival (mean follow-up: 4.02 ± 1.58 years) in patients with hyperlactatemia.

Hyperlactatemia during cardiopulmonary bypass has a significant association with postoperative morbidity and mortality. Correction of risk factors for hyperlactatemia, together with prompt detection and correction of this condition, may control complications and improve outcome.

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