Sodium bicarbonate therapy for metabolic acidosis in critically ill patients: a survey of Australian and New Zealand intensive care clinicians

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OBJECTIVE: To help shape the design of a future double blind placebo-controlled randomised clinical trial of bicarbonate therapy for metabolic acidosis, based on opinions of intensive care clinicians in Australia and New Zealand. DESIGN: An online survey was designed, piloted and distributed electronically to members of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group (ANZICS CTG) mailing list. The survey sought to collect information about choice of placebo, method of bicarbonate administration, and acid-base monitoring. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Responses to six questions in the following domains were sought: 1) solution to be used as placebo; 2) method of administration; 3) target of the intervention; 4) timing of arterial blood gases to monitor the intervention; 5) duration of therapy; and 6) rate of bolus therapy (if selected as the best option). RESULTS: One in every eight ANZICS CTG members completed the survey (118/880, 13.4%). Compound sodium lactate was the preferred solution for placebo (54/118, 45.8%), and continuous infusion of bicarbonate (80/118, 67.8%) was the most frequently selected method of administration. A pH > 7.30 was the preferred target (50/118, 42.4%), while monitoring with arterial blood gas analysis every 2 hours until the target is reached and then every 4 hours was the most favoured option (40/118, 33.9%). The preferred duration of therapy was until the target is achieved (53/118, 44.9%). CONCLUSIONS: This survey offers important insights into the preferences of Australian and New Zealand clinicians in regards to any future randomised controlled trial of bicarbonate therapy for metabolic acidosis in the critically ill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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