Description: The lactic acid test measures lactate levels in the blood’s plasma.
Also Known As: Lactate Test, L-Lactate Test, Lactate Plasma Test, Lactate Blood Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Plasma
Test Preparation: Sample should be collected without the use of a tourniquet, avoid hand-clenching. If a tourniquet has been used, it should be released for one minute prior to drawing blood. Collected blood should be cooled on ice immediately and separated from the cells within 3 hours.
Average Processing Time: 2 to 3 days
When is a Lactic Acid test ordered?
When someone exhibits indicators and symptoms of insufficient oxygen, such as:
- breathing difficulty
- quickly breathing
- muscle tremor
- Continent pain
When a patient exhibits signs and symptoms that a medical professional believes are indicative of sepsis, shock, a heart attack, severe congestive heart failure, renal failure, or uncontrolled diabetes, the test may be prescribed.
Initial orders for the lactate test may include other tests to assess a patient’s status. If lactate is noticeably raised, it might be prescribed periodically to keep an eye on the situation.
When a person exhibits meningitis symptoms such severe headaches, fever, confusion, and loss of consciousness, CSF and blood lactate levels may be ordered.
What does a Lactic Acid Plasma test check for?
One of the chemicals created by cells as the body converts food into energy is lactate. It can occasionally be found in the form of lactic acid depending on pH. The majority of it will, however, be present in the blood as lactate because of the neutral pH that the body maintains. This examination determines how much lactate is present in the blood or, less frequently, the cerebrospinal fluid.
Blood and CSF lactate concentrations are typically low. When there is insufficient oxygen at the cellular level or when the body’s cells’ principal method of generating energy is interfered with, lactate is created excessively by muscle cells, red blood cells, brain cells, and other organs. Lactic acidosis can result from too much lactate.
The mitochondria, which are microscopic power plants found inside the majority of body cells, are where the majority of energy production in cells takes place. The mitochondria convert glucose and oxygen into ATP, the body’s main energy source. Aerobic energy production is what this is.
The body must switch to less effective energy production in order to digest glucose and make ATP when cellular oxygen levels drop if the mitochondria are not operating properly. Lactic acid, which is mostly produced as a byproduct and is digested by the liver, is what is known as anaerobic energy production.
When lactic acid is produced more quickly than the liver can eliminate it, it can build up in the body and blood.
Excess lactate could be a sign of one or more of the following:
- absence of oxygen
- a syndrome that results in excessive lactate production being present
- the existence of a disease that impairs the body’s ability to remove lactate
A person is considered to have hyperlactatemia when their lactic acid production considerably rises. As more lactic acid builds up, hyperlactatemia can proceed to lactic acidosis. Although the effects of hyperlactatemia are frequently compensated for by the body, lactic acidosis can be severe enough to upset the acid/base balance of an individual and result in symptoms including muscle weakness, fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and even coma.
High lactate levels might result from a variety of illnesses.
Lab tests often ordered with a Lactic Acid test:
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
- Drug Testing
Conditions where a Lactic Acid test is recommended:
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Heart Attack
- Acidosis and Alkalosis
- Meningitis and Encephalitis
How does my health care provider use a Lactic Acid test?
The main purpose of the lactate test is to identify the presence of lactic acidosis, which is characterized by elevated lactate levels that disturb the body's acid-base balance.
It can occasionally be found in the form of lactic acid depending on pH. The majority of lactic acid will, however, remain present in the blood as lactate because of the body's ability to maintain a neutral pH.
The lack of sufficient oxygen in cells and tissues is the most frequent cause of lactic acidosis. This test can be performed to help identify and assess the severity of hypoxia and lactic acidosis in people who have a condition that may result in a reduction in the amount of oxygen given to cells and tissues, such as shock or congestive heart failure. In order to assess a person's acid/base balance and oxygenation, it may be ordered along with blood gases.
This test may be performed to assess a person who has an illness that can increase lactate levels and who exhibits acidosis-related symptoms because lactic acidosis can also result from disorders unrelated to oxygen levels. To identify whether an underlying ailment, such as liver or renal disease, is the cause of lactic acidosis, it may be requested in conjunction with groups of tests, such as the comprehensive metabolic panel, basic metabolic panel, or complete blood count.
One who is suspected of having sepsis may also have an initial evaluation using the lactate test. If a person's lactate level is higher than normal, treatment will usually start right away. Sepsis patients have a much better chance of recovering if they are identified and treated right away.
When someone is being treated for a chronic condition like severe congestive heart failure or an acute condition like sepsis, shock, or heart attack, lactate levels may be requested periodically to help monitor hypoxia and response to treatment.
To help differentiate between bacterial and viral meningitis, a cerebrospinal fluid lactate test in addition to a blood lactate test may be prescribed.
What do my Lactic Acid test results mean?
A high blood lactate level indicates that a person has an illness or condition that makes lactate build up. In general, a higher rise in lactate indicates a more serious ailment. An increase in lactate can be a sign that organs are not working properly when it occurs in conjunction with low oxygen levels.
Yet having too much lactate is not a diagnostic sign. While diagnosing an underlying ailment or disease, a health professional must take into account a patient's medical history, physical exam, and the outcomes of additional diagnostic testing.
Elevated lactate levels can be caused by a variety of circumstances. Depending on how they generate lactic acidosis, they are divided into two classes.
The most prevalent type of lactic acidosis, type A, may develop from illnesses that make it difficult for a person to breathe in enough oxygen or that limit blood flow, which reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues. Type A conditions include, for example:
- trauma-related shock or severe blood loss
- chest pain
- enlarged heart disease
- lung illness or respiratory failure that is severe
- buildup of fluid in the lungs
- extremely low red blood cell and/or hemoglobin levels
Type B lactic acidosis, which is caused by an excessive demand for oxygen or metabolic issues, is unrelated to oxygen delivery. Examples of causes of category B include:
- liver illness
- kidney illness
- inadequate management of diabetes
- uncommon illnesses that cause glycogen storage
- use of specific medications, including metformin and salicylates
- exposure to poisons like methanol and cyanide
Many uncommon inherited metabolic and mitochondrial disorders, include forms of muscular dystrophy that impair healthy ATP generation
exercising vigorously, such as marathon runners
Lactate concentrations that gradually decline over time indicate a positive response to treatment when someone is receiving care for lactic acidosis or hypoxia.
Cerebrospinal fluid lactate concentrations that are much higher than normal or slightly elevated are more likely to be caused by viral meningitis in people who have the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
The lactate test gauges how much lactate is present in the blood at any given moment. The absence of lactic acidosis, the presence of adequate cellular oxygen, and/or the absence of lactic acidosis-related signs and symptoms are all indicated by a normal lactate level.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.