Twelve patients with severe asthma in whom lactic acidosis developed are presented. All had an arterial blood pH level lower than that expected for the measured partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide, all had an abnormally large anion gap, and the blood lactate level exceeded 2.8 mmol/liter. Respiratory acidosis subsequently developed in eight patients, and six required intubation. Lactic acidosis can develop in patients with severe asthma. Such patients are in danger of the development of respiratory failure and must be treated vigorously and observed closely.
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