BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-008315

Survival from profound metabolic acidosis due to hypovolaemic shock. A world record?

  1. Mark J G Dunn3
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Critical Care, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicola Di Rollo, nicola_di_rollo{at}


This case describes the unexpected survival of an adult man who presented to the emergency department with hypovolaemic shock secondary to a splenic haemorrhage. Before surgery he had a pH 6.527, base excess (BE) −34.2 mmol/l and lactate 15.6 mmol/l. He underwent a splenectomy after which his condition stabilised. He was managed in the intensive care unit postoperatively where he required organ support including renal replacement therapy but was subsequently discharged home with no neurological or renal deficit. Although there are case reports of patients surviving such profound metabolic acidosis these have mainly been cases of near drowning or toxic alcohol ingestion. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported case of survival after a pH of 6.5 secondary to hypovolaemic shock.

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