Clinical application of the measurement of cord plasma lactate and pyruvate in the assessment of high-risk neonates

Acta Paediatr. 1998 Jul;87(7):764-8. doi: 10.1080/080352598750013851.


Lactate levels in combination with lactate/pyruvate (L/P) ratio have been used to measure altered cellular redox states. We measured the cord plasma lactate levels and L/P ratios in 70 normal neonates (40 full-term and 30 preterm neonates) to set up the normal (control) ranges. The control cord plasma lactate levels and L/P ratios were 2660 [700 (SD)] micromol/l, 16 (3) in full-term neonates and 2750 (740) micromol/l, 17 (3) in preterm neonates, respectively. We also measured the lactate levels and L/P ratios in the high-risk full-term (n = 23) and preterm (n = 35) neonates, the results were 4500 (2600) micromol/l, 19 (13), and 5100 (2700) micromol/l, 26 (12), respectively. With the aid of elevated lactate levels and L/P ratios, the occurrence of neonatal encephalopathy can be predicted with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 94.5% in this patient group. In our study, the six cases with abnormal neurodevelopment at 6-9 months of age all had both elevated lactate levels and L/P ratios at birth. We conclude that the measurement of lactate levels in combination with L/P ratios is a useful quantitative tool in assessing the existence and severity of perinatal hypoxia in the high-risk neonates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Lactic Acid / analysis*
  • Male
  • Pyruvic Acid / analysis*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Lactic Acid
  • Pyruvic Acid