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Diabet Med. 2011 Feb;28(2):175-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03123.x.

Wound fluid lactate concentration: a helpful marker for diagnosing soft-tissue infection in diabetic foot ulcers? Preliminary findings.

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Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Institute of Clinical and Experimental Transfusion Medicine, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Strasse 3, Tübingen, Germany.



To investigate the impact of wound fluid lactate concentration on diagnosing soft-tissue infection in diabetic foot ulcers.


Lactate concentration in wound fluid obtained from diabetic foot ulcers was determined using a lactate analyser and compared with clinical examination findings.


Overall median wound fluid lactate concentration was 21.03 mm (5.58-80.40 mm). Wound lactate levels were significantly higher in infected compared with non-infected diabetic foot ulcers (P=0.001). Non-infected diabetic foot ulcers that healed within 6 months of treatment showed a significantly lower wound fluid lactate concentration at baseline as opposed to those that did not heal (P=0.007).


Non-healing diabetic foot ulcers are characterized by high wound fluid lactate levels. Assessment of wound fluid lactate concentration might be helpful for confirming the suspicion of soft tissue infection, particularly when clinical signs are atypical.

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