Preferred Sample Type


Suitable Specimen Types

  • Fluoride Oxalate
100uL plasma minimum volume 50 uL (CSF samples can also be used)

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Sample must be centrifuged and separated immediately on receipt (which must be within 30 minutes of collection).

Sample Preparation

Sample must be collected on ice and transported to laboratory for centrifugation within 30 minutes of collection.

Turnaround Time

1 day

Sample Stability

Seperated plasma may be stored for 3 days at 4°C


General Information

The common cause for increased blood lactate is anoxia resulting from such conditions such as convulsions, shock, sepsis, pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Lactate levels in CSF are increased in bacterial meningitis, and any condition associated with reduced oxygenation of the brain

Lactate is increased in metabolic liver disease, glycogen storage disorders.

Patient Preparation

Patients should not clench and unclench hands before or during phlebotomy. Specimens should be obtained without the use of a tourniquet or immediately after the tourniquet has been applied. If there is any delay in obtaining the specimen or if the initial draw is unsuccessful, the tourniquet should be removed and the blood should be allowed to circulate for at least two minutes before trying again.


CSF samples can also be used. Please collect these into fluoride/oxalate tube.

Haemolysis interferes with this assay and haemolysed samples will not be analysed.

Reference Range

<16yrs   0.6-2.5 mmol/L    (Source : Pathology Harmony Recommendations)

Adult      0.5-2.2 mmol/L   (Source : Abbott Diagnostics)

CSF lactate-age related: 1.1-6.7mmol/L (neonates) 1.1-2.4 mmol/L (adults) 


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: WEQAS

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235