ROBERT G. NARINS, M.D.; JORDAN J. COHEN, M.D.
Critics of bicarbonate therapy life-threatening lactic acidosis have argued that the treatment is not only ineffective but that it also worsens morbidity and mortality. We critically examine the six major arguments used to condemn alkali treatment. We highlight the shortcomings of frequently cited uncontrolled human studies, experiments in animals, and in-vitro chemical analyses not clearly related to the human condition. The damaging hemodynamic effects of acidemia, which centralizes blood volume while depressing myocardial contraction (thereby causing hemodynamic collapse), are discussed and offered in support of alkali therapy. We also emphasize the extreme sensitivity of patients with acidosis to further small decreases in serum bicarbonate concentration or increases in arterial PCO2. In short, we have found no basis by which to condemn the use of alkali and believe that those who have scorned its use have yet to demonstrate its danger clearly. Until that time, sodium bicarbonate should remain the standard of therapy for this life-threatening condition.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
NARINS RG, COHEN JJ. Bicarbonate Therapy for Organic Acidosis: The Case for Its Continued Use. Ann Intern Med. 1987;106:615–618. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-106-4-615
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(4):615-618.
Endocrine and Metabolism.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only