Pre-hospital lactate testing in the identification of patients with sepsis: a review of the literature


Sepsis is increasingly common and has a high mortality rate. Sepsis can be difficult to identify and patients with severe sepsis often initially present to the ambulance service. Lactate testing has been utilised successfully in other healthcare settings to assist with the identification of septic patients and stratification of illness severity.A focused literature review has revealed that pre-hospital lactate testing has shown benefits to clinicians pre-hospitally in the identification of septic patients presenting to the ambulance service. Only four pieces of primary research were identified and small sample sizes and variability of lactate testing limit the generalisation of the findings. Further research is required to fully investigate the potential benefits of using pre-hospital lactate testing to identify those patients with sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock presenting to the ambulance service.

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