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Test Code 259 Lactate (L-Lactate)

Important Note

MercyOne Hospital patient locations: Lactate results >2.0 will reflex another Lactate order in 4 hours. The original test will have the following comment, "Repeat Lactic Acid has been ordered based on sepsis protocol." The reflex order will populate as "Timed" and be ordered for a time of 4 hours after the initial. The reflexed order will not reflex another order - each order will only produce one reflex.

Additional Codes


PowerChart: Lactic Acid Level

MA Cerner: Lactate

Specimen Requirement

0.2 mL of plasma is required.

Additional Specimen Collection Information

Collect blood in sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate grey-top tube. Chill the specimen immediately after collection by placing on ice. Samples must be centrifuged within 15 minutes of collection and assayed as they arrive in the testing laboratory. Plasma separated from cells is stable at room up to 8 hours; refrigerated for up to 14 days and frozen for up to 6 months.

Useful For

Diagnosing and monitoring patients with lactic acidosis.

Elevated levels of lactate are mainly found in conditions of hypoxia such as shock, hypovolemia, and left ventricular failure; in conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes mellitus, neoplasia, and liver disease; and in conditions associated with drugs or toxins such as ethanol, methanol, or salicylate. Lactic acid measurements are being used as a screening tool in evaluating for severe sepsis. In severe sepsis circulatory abnormalities (intravascular volume depletion, peripheral vasodilatation, myocardial depression and increased metabolism) lead to an imbalance between systemic oxygen delivery and oxygen demand, resulting in global tissue hypoxia or shock.


Testing is performed Monday through Sunday.

Routine: Typically completed within 4 hours after the specimen arrives at the testing site.

Expedite: Typically completed within 1 hour after the specimen arrives at the testing site.

STAT: Typically completed within 30 minutes after the specimen arrives at the testing site.

CPT Code Information

83605 Chemistry: Lactate (lactic acid)

LOINC Code Information

2524-7 Lactate [Moles/Volume] In Serum Or Plasma

Test Method

MercyOne DBQ:
Colorimetric Endpoint Technique; Beckman DXC880i

MercyOne Dyersville:
Amperometric; Abbott iStat1


Reference Values

0.5-2.0 mmol/L

  • Critical Value: > 3.9 mmol/L


Patients venipuntured immediately after or during the administration of Metamizole (Dipyrone) may lead to falsely low results for Lactate. Venipunture should be performed prior to the administration of Metamizole.