Lactate levels in the detection of preoperative bowel strangulation.
ABSTRACT The aim of this retrospective study was to examine whether various laboratory parameters could predict viability of strangulation in patients with bowel obstruction. Forty patients diagnosed with bowel strangulation were included. We performed operations for all patients within 72 hours of the start of symptoms. Blood samples were obtained from all patients immediately before operation. Arterial blood was examined for pH and lactate levels using a blood gas analyzer. We also evaluated white blood cell count and serum levels of creatine phosphokinase, lactic dehydrogenase, amylase, and C-reactive protein. At surgery, 18 patients had viable strangulation and did not undergo resection, whereas 22 had nonviable strangulation and underwent resection of the necrotic bowel. None of the patients died. Bowel strangulation was caused most commonly by adhesions. In terms of diagnostic efficiency, lactate level was the only laboratory parameter significantly associated with viability (P < 0.01, Mann-Whitney test). Other laboratory data did not show statistically significant associations. These results suggest that arterial blood lactate level (2.0 mmol/L or greater) is a useful predictor of nonviable bowel strangulation.