Volume 100, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Globally, pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children younger than 5 years old, with most deaths occurring in low-income countries. Rapid bedside tools to assist practitioners to accurately triage and risk-stratify these patients may improve clinical care and patient outcomes. We conducted a prospective cohort study of children with pneumonia admitted to two Ugandan hospitals to examine the predictive value of a single point-of-care lactate measurement using a commercially available handheld device, the Lactate Scout Analyzer. One hundred and fifty-five children were included, 90 (58%) male, with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of 11 (1.4–20) months. One hundred and twenty-five (81%) patients had chest indrawing, 133 (86%) were hypoxemic, and 75 (68%) had a chest x-ray abnormality. In-hospital mortality was 22/155 (14%). Median (IQR) admission lactate level was 2.4 (1.8–3.6) mmol/L among children who survived versus 7.2 (2.6–9.7) mmol/L among those who died ( < 0.001). Lactate was a better prognostic marker of mortality (area under receiver operator characteristic 0.76, 95% confidence interval: 0.69–0.87, ≤ 0.001), than any single clinical sign or composite clinical risk score. Lactate level at admission of < 2.0, 2.0–4.0, and > 4.0 mmol/L accurately risk-stratified children, with 5-day mortality of 2%, 11% and 26%, respectively ( < 0.001). Slow lactate clearance also predicted subsequent mortality in children with repeated lactate measurements. Hand-held lactate measurement is a clinically informative and convenient tool in low-resource settings for triage and risk stratification of pediatric pneumonia.


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  • Received : 22 Apr 2018
  • Accepted : 18 Sep 2018
  • Published online : 05 Nov 2018

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