Pharmacokinetic Assessment of Pre- and Post-Oxygenator Vancomycin Concentrations in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: A Prospective Observational Study

Ahmed A. Mahmoud, Sean N. Avedissian, Abbas Al-Qamari, Tiffany Bohling, Michelle Pham, Marc H. Scheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of cardiopulmonary life support frequently utilized in catastrophic lung and or cardiac failure. Patients on ECMO often receive vancomycin therapy for treatment or prophylaxis against Gram-positive organisms. It is unclear if ECMO affects vancomycin pharmacokinetics, thus we modeled the pharmacokinetic behavior of vancomycin according to ECMO-specific variables. Methods: Adult patients receiving vancomycin and Veno-Arterial-ECMO between 12/1/2016 and 10/1/2017 were prospectively enrolled. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation settings and four sets of pre- and post-oxygenator vancomycin concentrations were collected for each patient. Compartmental models were built and assessed ECMO flow rates on vancomycin clearance and potential circuit sequestration. Bayesian posterior concentrations of the pre- and post-oxygenator concentrations were obtained for each patient, and summary pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated. Simulations were performed from the final model for efficacy and toxicity predictions. Results: Eight patients contributed 64 serum concentrations. Patients were a median (interquartile range) age of 58.5 years (50.8–62.3) with a calculated creatinine clearance of 39 mL/min (29.5–62.5) and ECMO flow rates of 3980 mL/min (interquartile range = 3493.75–4132.5). A three-compartment model best fit the data (Bayesian: plasma pre-oxygenation R2 = 0.99, post-oxygenation R2 = 0.99). Vancomycin clearance was not impacted by ECMO flow rate (p = 0.7). Simulations demonstrated that vancomycin 1 g twice daily was rarely sufficient for minimum inhibitory concentrations > 0.5 mg/L. Doses ≥ 1.5 g twice daily often exceeded toxicity thresholds for exposure. Conclusions: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation flow rates did not influence vancomycin clearance between flow rates of 3500 and 5000 mL/min and vancomycin was not sequestered in ECMO. Common vancomycin regimens resulted in suboptimal efficacy and/or excessive toxicity. Individual therapeutic drug monitoring is recommended for patients on ECMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1575-1587
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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