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Volume 3 Supplement 1


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

B-lactams serum concentrations in critically ill cirrhotic patients: a matched-control study

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Intensive Care Medicine Experimental20153 (Suppl 1) :A401

  • Published:


  • Cirrhotic Patient
  • Ceftazidime
  • Meropenem
  • Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
  • Cefepime


Few data are available on the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of b-lactams in critically ill cirrhotic patients.


The objective of this study was to evaluate whether cirrhosis was associated with alterations in b-lactam concentrations when compared to other critically ill patients, and to identify the principal risk factors for inadequate concentrations in these patients.


We reviewed data from critically ill cirrhotic patients and matched controls in whom routine therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotics (ceftazidime or cefepime, CEF; piperacillin/tazobactam; TZP; meropenem, MEM) was performed. Serum drug concentrations were measured twice during the elimination phase by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-UV). Antibiotic PKs were calculated using a one-compartment model. We considered therapy was adequate when serum drug concentrations were between 4 and 8 times the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa during optimal periods of time for each drug (≥70% for CEF; ≥ 50% for TZP; ≥ 40% for MEM).


We studied 42 cirrhotic patients (4 for CEF, 16 for TZP and 22 for MEM) and 42 matched controls. Drug dosing was similar in the two groups. The PK analysis showed a lower volume of distribution (Vd) of MEM (p = 0.05) and a lower antibiotic clearance (CL) of TZP (p = 0.009) in patients with cirrhosis when compared to non-cirrhotic patients. More cirrhotic patients have excessive serum b-lactam concentration (p = 0.015), in particular for TZP.


Standard regimens of β-lactam resulted in excessive serum concentration in two-third of the patients in the cirrhotic cohort. These findings are mainly marked in cirrhotic patients treated by TZP, probably because of reduced drug CL.

Authors’ Affiliations

ULB, Intensive Care, Brussels, Belgium
ULB, Gastroenterology, Brussels, Belgium
ULB, Infectious Disease, Brussels, Belgium
ULB, Clinical Chemistry, Brussels, Belgium


© Lheureux et al.; 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.