The acid-base effects of continuous hemofiltration with lactate or bicarbonate buffered replacement fluids

H. K. Tan, S. Uchino, Rinaldo Bellomo

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Objective: To evaluate, quantify and compare the effects of continuous veno-venous hemofiltration (CVVH) with lactate or bicarbonate-buffered replacement fluids on acid-base balance. Design: Randomized double crossover study. Setting: Intensive Care Unit of Tertiary Medical Center. Participants: Eight patients with severe acute renal failure. Interventions: Random allocation to either 2 hours of isovolemic lactate-buffered (treatment A) CVVH or 2 hours of bicarbonate-buffered (treatment B) CVVH with cross over and with same procedure repeated the following day (double cross over). Measurements and results: Timed collections of arterial blood and ultrafiltrate (UF), measurement of blood and UF gases and lactate concentrations and calculation of buffer-base mass balance. At baseline, both groups of patients had a similar, slight metabolic alkalosis (pH: 7.45 vs. 7.45; BE 3.9 mEq/L for treatment A and 4.0 for treatment B) and a serum bicarbonate of 28.1 mmol/L for treatment A vs. 28.3 mmol/L for treatment B; all NS. This alkalosis was present despite slight hyperlactatemia in both groups (A: 2.4 mmol/L vs. B 2.8 mmol/L; NS). Within 60 minutes of treatment, however, treatment A led to a significantly higher lactate concentration (3.9 vs 2.5 mmol/L; p=0.0011), a significantly lower BE (2.3 vs 4.1 mEq/L; p=0.0019) and a significantly lower bicarbonate concentration (26.7 vs. 28.3 mmol/L; p=0.0038) in the presence of an unchanged PaCO2. These differences persisted during the study period. The UF of patients receiving treatment A contained more lactate (10.2 vs 2.9 mmol/L; p<0.0001) and less bicarbonate (25.6 vs. 30.8 mmol/L; p<0.0001) than treatment B resulting in a mean buffer-base balance of +20.4 mEq/h compared to -2.6 mEq/h for treatment B; p<0.0001). Conclusions: CVVH with lactate-buffered replacement fluids induces iatrogenic hyperlactatemia. Such hyperlactatemia is associated with an acidifying effect despite a positive buffer-base balance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid-base physiology
  • Bicarbonate
  • Buffers
  • Chloride
  • Continuous renal replacement therapy
  • Hemofiltration
  • Lactate
  • Lactic acidosis

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