Pharmacokinetics of aztreonam in critically ill surgical patients

Edward E. Cornwell, Howard Belzberg, Thomas V. Berne, Mark A. Gill, Dimitrios Theodorou, Jack W. Kern, Winnie Yu, Juan Asensio, Demetrios Demetriades

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6 Scopus citations


The pharmacokinetics of aztreonam in critically ill surgical patients with serious gram-negative infections were studied. Blood samples were taken before and at 30 minutes, 2.5 hours, and 5 hours after a dose of aztreonam 2 g i.v. every six hours. All patients had received at least two aztreonam doses before the dosage interval being studied. Aztreonam concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Aztreonam's pharmacokinetics, the severity of illness, and patient outcomes were examined. A total of 28 patients with 111 serum aztreonam concentrations were included in the analysis. The patients were young (mean age, 35 years) and predominantly male. The mean APACHE II score was 19.3, and 22 patients had sepsis. Four patients died. The mean volume of distribution (V) of 0.35 L/kg was nearly twice the previously reported steady-state value for healthy volunteers (0.18 L/kg) and was highly variable. A slightly higher than normal mean V, 0.22 L/kg, was seen in a subset of six patients whose infection occurred earlier in their intensive care and who had lower APACHE II scores. While with some antibiotics the elevated V would imply difficulty in achieving therapeutic drug levels, 99 (89%) of the 111 concentrations were at or above the in vitro susceptibility breakpoint of 8 μg/mL. Despite observations of markedly increased and highly variable V in critically ill surgical patients, a standard dosage of aztreonam was usually sufficient to maintain adequate serum drug levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-540
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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