Population pharmacokinetics of vancomycin in patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;60(3):265-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2005.02432.x.


Aims: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life support system used during severe respiratory or cardiorespiratory failure. The objective of this study was to characterize the population pharmacokinetics of vancomycin during ECMO.

Methods: A population model was developed using WinNonMix (Version 2.0.1) from a total of 366 plasma observations in 45 patients, including term neonates, older children and adults. The study utilized both rich prospective and sparse retrospective data. Prospective samples were drawn at baseline and then 30, 60,90, 120, 180, 240, 300, 360 and 420 min postinfusion. Steady state concentrations were obtained retrospectively from an assay database, cross-referencing with the patients' medical records.

Results: Data were examined using a two-compartment model with an additive and proportional residual error. Model fit improved substantially when clearance, CL (l kg(-1) h(-1)) was modelled as a nonlinear function of serum creatinine (Cr) micromol l(-1). There was a linear relationship between CL and age up to 1000 days: CL (Age < 1000 days) = [2.4 + 0.0018 x Age (days)]/Cr; CL (Age > 1000 days) = 4.3/Cr. Age also influenced central volume (V1) when included in the model as a dichotomous variable: V1 (Age < 4000 days) = 0.45 l kg(-1); V1 (Age > 4000 days) = 0.36 l kg(-1). Intercompartmental clearance and tissue volume were estimated to be 0.09 l kg(-1) h(-1) and 0.25 l kg(-1), respectively. Model validation in a separate group of 20 patients revealed a bias of -7.7% and a precision of 26.7%.

Conclusions: The clearance of vancomycin was decreased and its volume of distribution increased in patients receiving ECMO, suggesting altered drug disposition during this treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / blood
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vancomycin / blood
  • Vancomycin / pharmacokinetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin