Eur J Intern Med. 2021 Feb 5:S0953-6205(21)00021-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2021.01.021. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Arterial lactate is an established risk marker in patients with pulmonary embolism (PE). However, its clinical applicability is limited by the need of an arterial puncture. In contrast, venous lactate can easily be measured from blood samples obtained via routine peripheral venepuncture.
METHODS: We investigated the prognostic value of venous lactate with regard to in-hospital adverse outcomes and mortality in 419 consecutive PE patients enrolled in a single-center registry between 09/2008 and 09/2017.
RESULTS: An optimised venous lactate cut-off value of 3.3 mmol/l predicted both, in-hospital adverse outcome (OR 11.0 [95% CI 4.6-26.3]) and all-cause mortality (OR 3.8 [95%CI 1.3-11.3]). The established cut-off value for arterial lactate (2.0 mmol/l) and the upper limit of normal for venous lactate (2.3 mmol/l) had lower prognostic value for adverse outcomes (OR 3.6 [95% CI 1.5-8.7] and 5.7 [95% CI 2.4-13.6], respectively) and did not predict mortality. If added to the 2019 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) algorithm, venous lactate <2.3 mmol/l was associated with a high negative predictive value (0.99 [95% CI 0.97-1.00]) for adverse outcomes in intermediate-low-risk patients, whereas levels ≥3.3 mmol/l predicted adverse outcomes in the intermediate-high-risk group (OR 5.2 [95% CI 1.8-15.0]).
CONCLUSION: Venous lactate above the upper limit of normal was associated with increased risk for adverse outcomes and an optimised cut-off value of 3.3 mmol/l predicted adverse outcome and mortality. Adding venous lactate to the 2019 ESC algorithm may improve risk stratification. Importantly, the established cut-off value for arterial lactate has limited specificity in venous samples and should not be used.