Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 55–61 | Cite as

Prognostic relevance of serum lactate kinetics in critically ill patients

  • Maryna Masyuk
  • Bernhard Wernly
  • Michael Lichtenauer
  • Marcus Franz
  • Bjoern Kabisch
  • Johanna M. Muessig
  • Georg Zimmermann
  • Alexander Lauten
  • P. Christian Schulze
  • Uta C. Hoppe
  • Malte Kelm
  • Jan Bakker
  • Christian JungEmail author



Changes of lactate concentration over time were reported to be associated with survival in septic patients. We aimed to evaluate delta-lactate (ΔLac) 24 h after admission (Δ24Lac) to an intensive care unit (ICU) in critically ill patients for short- and long-term prognostic relevance.


In total, 26,285 lactate measurements of 2191 patients admitted to a German ICU were analyzed. Inclusion criterion was a lactate concentration at admission above 2.0 mmol/L. Maximum lactate concentrations of day 1 and day 2 were used to calculate Δ24Lac. Follow-up of patients was performed retrospectively. Association of Δ24Lac and both in-hospital and long-term mortality were investigated. An optimal cut-off was calculated by means of the Youden index.


Patients with lower Δ24Lac were of similar age, but clinically sicker. As continuous variable, higher Δ24Lac was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality (per 1% Δ24Lac; HR 0.987 95%CI 0.985–0.990; p < 0.001) and an optimal Δ24Lac cut-off was calculated at 19%. Δ24Lac ≤ 19% was associated with both increased in-hospital (15% vs 43%; OR 4.11; 95%CI 3.23–5.21; p < 0.001) and long-term mortality (HR 1.54 95%CI 1.28–1.87; p < 0.001), even after correction for APACHE II, need for catecholamines and intubation. We matched 256 patients with Δ24Lac ≤ 19% to case–controls > 19% corrected for APACHE II scores, baseline lactate level and sex: Δ24Lac ≤ 19% remained associated with lower in-hospital and long-term survival.


Lower Δ24Lac was robustly associated with adverse outcome in critically ill patients, even after correction for confounders. Δ24Lac might constitute an independent, easily available and important parameter for risk stratification in the critically ill.


Critically ill Lactate Delta-lactate ICU Risk stratification Risk score 



We would like to thank Katharina Bannier and Julian Gonschorrek for their support in collecting the patients’ follow-up. MM was supported by a GEROK scholarship by the Collaborative Research Center 1116 (DFG).

Author contributions

MM and BW analyzed and interpreted the data, drafted the submitted manuscript and approved the final version to be published. MF, BK, CJ and PCS substantially contributed to acquisition and interpretation of data, revised the manuscript critically and approved the final version to be published. ML, JMM, AL, UCH and MK substantially contributed to interpretation of data, revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version to be published. GZ gave statistical advice. JB and CJ substantially contributed to conception and design and to the interpretation of data, revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version to be published.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study has been approved by the local ethics committee of the Jena University Hospital.

Supplementary material

134_2018_5475_MOESM1_ESM.tif (68 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 68 kb)
134_2018_5475_MOESM2_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryna Masyuk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bernhard Wernly
    • 3
  • Michael Lichtenauer
    • 3
  • Marcus Franz
    • 4
  • Bjoern Kabisch
    • 4
  • Johanna M. Muessig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Georg Zimmermann
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Alexander Lauten
    • 8
    • 9
  • P. Christian Schulze
    • 4
  • Uta C. Hoppe
    • 3
  • Malte Kelm
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Bakker
    • 10
    • 11
    • 12
    • 13
  • Christian Jung
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine, Medical FacultyHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.CARID, Cardiovascular Research Institute Düsseldorf, Medical FacultyHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Department of Cardiology, Clinic of Internal Medicine IIParacelsus Medical UniversitySalzburgAustria
  4. 4.Department of Cardiology, Clinic of Internal Medicine IJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  5. 5.Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler Clinic and Centre for Cognitive NeuroscienceParacelsus Medical UniversitySalzburgAustria
  6. 6.Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Centre SalzburgParacelsus Medical UniversitySalzburgAustria
  7. 7.Department of MathematicsParis Lodron UniversitySalzburgAustria
  8. 8.Department of Cardiology, CharitéUniversity Hospital BerlinBerlinGermany
  9. 9.German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK)University Heart CenterBerlinGermany
  10. 10.Department of Intensive Care AdultsErasmus MC University Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  11. 11.Department of Pulmonology and Critical CareNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  12. 12.Department of Pulmonology and Critical CareColumbia University Medical CenterNYUSA
  13. 13.Department of Intensive CarePontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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