UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Sodium Bicarbonate in Severe Metabolic Acidosis

Keywords: acidosis, acidemia, sodium bicarbonate, shock (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/11/2018 by Kami Hu, MD
Click here to contact Kami Hu, MD

The recently published BICAR-ICU study looked at the use of bicarb in critically ill patients with severe metabolic acidemia...

  • Multicenter, open-label, RCT, 26 French ICUs
  • Adult patients with pH < 7.2 not secondary to hypercapnia, serum bicarb < 20 not due to bicarb wasting process 
  • SOFA score > 4 or lactate > 2
  • No bicarb versus 4.2% sodium bicarb infusion titrated to pH >7.3
  • Primary outcome: Composite measure of 28-mortality and presence of any organ failure at 7 days post-randomization
  • Secondary outcomes: Need for/length of life support measures (renal-replacement, vasopressors, mechanical ventilation), SOFA score after enrollment, electrolyte effects, occurrence of ICU-acquired infections, and ICU length of stay
  • Major findings:
    • No difference in primary outcome overall
    • No difference in pressor-free days, days off RRT, dialysis dependence at ICU discharge, ICU LOS
    • Bicarb group had less need for RRT during ICU stay (35 vs 52%, p=0.0009)
    • In patients with AKI and AKIN score 2-3*, the bicarbonate group had a decrease in both 28-day mortality (46 vs 63%, p=0.0166) and presence of any organ failure at day 7 (66 vs 82%, p=0.0142)
  • Limitations:
    • Unblinded
    • A quarter of the control group actually received bicarb
    • No data regarding vent settings, ABGs to r/o ventilation effects on pH
    • 4.2% is not a standard concentration of bicarb used in the U.S.

Bottom Line

Consider administration of sodium bicarbonate for your critically ill ED patients with severe metabolic acidosis and AKI, especially if acidosis &/or renal function is not improved with usual initial measures (such as IVF, etc).

 

 

*Acute Kidney Injury Network Staging Criteria

References

Jaber S, Paugam C, Futier E, et al. Sodium bicarbonate therapy for patients with severe metabolic acidaemia in the intensive care unit (BICAR-ICU): a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2018;392(10141):31-40.