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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 203-208
Case Report

Lactic Acidosis in Asthma: Report of Two Cases and Review of the Literature

Suma Prakash and Sanjay Mehta

Respirology Division, Department of Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lactic acidosis is commonly associated with states of hypoxia and decreased tissue perfusion. Elevated lactic acid levels have also been observed in individuals who are not septic and who are normotensive, but who have received systemic adrenergic agonist therapy. This report presents two patients with acute asthma treated with very large doses of aerosolized and systemic salbutamol, who developed lactic acidosis despite normal systemic hemodynamics and adequate oxygenation. Lactic acidosis was clinically important because it contributed to respiratory failure in one patient, and complicated the assessment and management of acute, severe asthma in the other patient.