2020 Nov 21. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan–.
Lactic acid is produced in physiologically normal processes, and as a common finding in disease states. When increased production is comorbid with decreased clearance, the severity of the clinical course escalates. Importantly, the effects of severely elevated levels of lactic acid can have profound hemodynamic consequences and can lead to death. Serum lactate levels can be both a marker for risk as well as a therapeutic target. The higher the level and the longer the time to normalization of elevated serum lactate, the greater the risk of death.
Clinicians should be aware that hyperlactatemia can occur in the presence of adequate tissue perfusion and oxygenation. Lactic acidosis on the other hand usually occurs in the presence of inadequate tissue perfusion, abnormalities in carbohydrate metabolism and with the use of certain medications.