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  • Open Access

Lactate in burn patients: biomarker of sepsis and mortality

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Critical Care201216 (Suppl 1) :P258

  • Published:


  • Lactate
  • Powerful Predictor
  • Care Center
  • Good Sensitivity
  • Thermal Injury


In this study, we attempted to assess whether the early plasma lactate (PL) level is a useful biomarker to predict septic complications and outcome in burn patients.


A retrospective study was conducted in the burn care center in Tunis. Patients admitted within 24 hours from the thermal injury, from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2010, were included. PL was measured early in the first 24 hours and controlled more than twice. For each measurement, 5 ml venous blood was drawn into a heparin-coated syringe. The normal lactate value was defined as 1 ± 0.5 mmol/l.


Over an 18-month period of study, 80 patients were enrolled. There were 60 males and 20 females. The mean age was 40.7 ± 19.5 and the average TBSA was 32 ± 21%. Upon admission, patients with an initial lactate value of more than 2 mmol/l were 86.7%. Fifty-eight percent of them have a lactate initial value of more than 4 mmol/l. In order to evaluate the potential impact of using early lactate measurements (H24 post burn injury) as predictor biomarker of sepsis in burn patients, a linear discrimination function was performed, by measuring the area under the ROC curve, and found that initial lactate value of more than 4 mmol/l provides the best sensitivity and specificity: 88% and 79% respectively. Also, the PL cut-off value for prediction of mortality was 4 mmol/l with a good sensitivity (86%) and specificity (92%). The area under the ROC curve was 0.96.


Lactate appears to be a powerful predictor biomarker of sepsis and mortality in burn patients. A serum lactate of 4 mmol/l provides the best sensitivity and specificity.

Authors’ Affiliations

Burn and Trauma Center, Tunis, Tunisia


© Mokline et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.