Table of contents

Metabolic acidosis


Key sources

The following summarized guidelines for the evaluation and management of metabolic acidosis are prepared by our editorial team based on guidelines from the French Society of Emergency Medicine (SFMU/SRLF 2019). ...
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Diagnostic investigations

Laboratory testing: as per SFMU/SRLF 2019 guidelines, consider obtaining arterial blood gas measurement in patients with decreased plasma bicarbonate level in order to:
eliminate respiratory alkalosis
confirm the diagnosis of metabolic acidosis
test for mixed acidosis.
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Respiratory support

Mechanical ventilation: as per SFMU/SRLF 2019 guidelines, consider increasing respiratory frequency without inducing intrinsic PEEP, with a maximum of 35 cycles/min and/or a tidal volume up to 8 mL/kg of body mass, and by monitoring plateau pressure for compensating acidemia.
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Medical management

Sodium bicarbonate: as per SFMU/SRLF 2019 guidelines, consider administering sodium bicarbonate to compensate for gastrointestinal or renal base loss in patients with poor clinical tolerance.
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More topics in this section

  • Insulin

Inpatient care

Inpatient monitoring
As per SFMU/SRLF 2019 guidelines:
Consider monitoring the increase in blood lactate levels in the first hours of management to assess the response to treatment.
Consider obtaining close monitoring in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis, ideally in an ICU setting.

Therapeutic procedures

RRT: as per SFMU/SRLF 2019 guidelines, consider performing RRT in patients with shock and/or acute renal insufficiency if the pH ≤ 7.15 in the absence of severe respiratory acidosis and despite appropriate treatment.
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