Alkalosis in critically ill patients with severe sepsis and septic shock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Although metabolic alkalosis is a common occurrence in intensive care units (ICUs), no study has evaluated its prevalence or outcomes in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of critically ill patients suffering from severe sepsis and septic shock admitted to the ICUs of Halmstad and Varberg County hospitals. From 910 patient records, 627 patients met the inclusion criteria. We investigated the relationship between metabolic alkalosis and mortality. Further, we studied the relationship between metabolic alkalosis and ICU length of stay (LOS). Results: Metabolic alkalosis was associated with decreased 30-day and 12-month mortalities. This effect was however lost when a multivariate analysis was conducted, correcting for age, gender, pH on admission, base excess (BE) on admission, Simplified Acute Physiology Score III (SAPS III) and acute kidney injury (AKI). We then analyzed for any dose-response effect between the severity of metabolic alkalosis and mortality and found no relationship. Bivariate analysis showed that metabolic alkalosis had a significant effect on the length of ICU stay. When adjusting for age, sex, pH at admission, BE at admission, SAPS III and AKI in a multivariate analysis, metabolic alkalosis significantly contributed to prolonged ICU length of stay. In two separate sensitivity analyses pure metabolic alkalosis and late metabolic alkalosis (time of onset >48 hours) were the only significant predictor of increased ICU length of stay. Conclusion: Metabolic alkalosis did not have any effect on 30-day and 12-month mortalities after adjusting for age, sex, SAPS III-score, pH and BE on admission and AKI in a multivariate analysis. The presence of metabolic alkalosis was independently associated with an increased ICU length of stay.


  • Simon Kreü
  • Allan Jazrawi
  • Jan Miller
  • Amir Baigi
  • Michelle Chew
External organisations
  • Örebro University Hospital
  • Västmanland Hospital
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Linköping University Hospital
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168563
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch