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Lausch, C. K.; Lorch, A.; Giertzuch, S.; Rieger, A.; Knubben-Schweizer, G. and Trefz, F. M. (2020): Prognostic relevance of pre- and postoperative plasma L-lactate measurements in calves with acute abdominal emergencies. In: Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 103, No. 2: pp. 1856-1865

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In both human and veterinary medicine, L-lactate is a well-established prognostic biomarker of disease severity and mortality and has also attracted increasing attention in bovine medicine due to the availability and validation of cheap and portable ',lactate analyzers. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prognostic accuracy of plasma L-lactate measurements in calves with acute abdominal emergencies before and during the initial therapeutic period after surgical intervention. A prospective observational study was carried out involving 83 hospitalized calves up to an age of 7 mo, which required surgical intervention for reasons of an acute abdominal emergency such as gastrointestinal ileus or peritonitis. Plasma ',lactate (L-LAC) concentrations were determined immediately before initiation of surgery and 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h later. The outcome of calves was evaluated 3 mo after discharge by a phone call to the farmer, and a positive outcome was defined if the calf was still alive and the owner was satisfied with the animal's postsurgical progress. A total of 29% of calves were discharged from the hospital arid the proportion of calves with a positive outcome after the 3-mo period was 24%. At all sampling times during the first 48 h after initiation of surgical intervention, calves with a negative outcome had significantly higher L-LAC than calves with a positive outcome. A binary logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds for a negative outcome during the 3-mo observation period increased by a factor of 1.23 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-1.44] for every mmol/L increase of L-LAC before initiation of surgical intervention, but by a factor of 5.29 (95% CI: 1.69-16.6) and 5.92 (95% CI: 1.29-27.3) at 12 and 24 h, respectively. The largest area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for L-LAC was observed at 12 h (0.91;95% CI: 0.83-0.99), and a cut-point of 2.75 mmol/L was identified that had a sensitivity and specificity for predicting a negative outcome of 68 and 100%, respectively. In conclusion, persistent hyper-L-lactatemia during the early postoperative period is a more reliable indicator for a negative outcome in calves with acute surgical abdominal emergencies than hyper-L-lactatemia before initiation of surgical intervention. Postoperative measurements of L-LAC are therefore a clinically useful tool to identify patients with an increased risk for a negative outcome at an early stage after surgical intervention was carried out.

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