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© 2017 British Journal of General Practice. Background Lactate is measured in hospital settings to identify patients with sepsis and severe infections, and to guide initiation of early treatment. Point-of-care technology could facilitate measurement of lactate by clinicians in the community. However, there has been little research into its utility in these environments. Aim To investigate the effect of using point-ofcare lactate at presentation to health care on mortality and other clinical outcomes, in patients presenting with acute infections. Design and setting Studies comparing the use of point-ofcare lactate to usual care in initial patient assessment at presentation to health care were identified using a maximally sensitive search strategy of six electronic databases. Method Two independent authors screened 3063 records for eligibility, and extracted data from eligible studies. Quality assessment for observational studies was performed using the ROBINS-I tool. Results Eight studies were eligible for inclusion (3063 patients). Seven studies were recruited from emergency departments, and one from a pre-hospital aeromedical setting. Five studies demonstrated a trend towards reduced mortality with point-of-care lactate; three studies achieved statistical significance. One study demonstrated a significant reduction in length of hospital stay, although another did not find any significant difference. Two studies demonstrated a significant reduction in time to treatment for antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Conclusion This review identifies an evidence gap - there is no high-quality evidence to support the use of point-of-care lactate in community settings. There are no randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and no studies in primary care. RCT evidence from community settings is needed to evaluate this potentially beneficial diagnostic technology.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of General Practice

Publication Date





e859 - e870