Acute renal failure associated with vancomycin- and tobramycin-laden cement in total hip arthroplasty

Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Nov;40(11):2037-42. doi: 10.1345/aph.1H173. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Objective: To describe 2 cases of acute renal failure (ARF) associated with the use of antibiotic-laden cement incorporated in total hip arthroplasties (THA).

Case summaries: An 82-year-old female received a right THA with antibiotic-laden cement spacers. She developed ARF 5 months following implantation, concurrent with an elevated serum tobramycin concentration of 5.5 microg/mL. After explantation of the prosthesis and spacers, serum creatinine and antibiotic concentrations decreased to within normal limits. A 79-year-old male received antibiotic-laden cement spacers in a revision of his right THA due to infection. ARF developed 1 1/2 months after the revision; a serum tobramycin concentration was 2.9 microg/mL. Serum creatinine and antibiotic serum concentrations decreased to within normal limits with explantation.

Discussion: More than 250 000 joint replacements are performed yearly in the US. A common complication is infection, which occurs in 1-2% of primary replacements and 3-4% of revisions of previously infected prostheses. Antibiotic-laden cement is used for prosthesis placement to prevent or treat infection, while minimizing systemic drug exposure. Both patients described here received antibiotic-laden spacers during THA and subsequently developed ARF in conjunction with elevated serum tobramycin concentrations. Use of the Naranjo probability scale and consideration of possible contributing factors suggest a probable association of the antibiotic-laden cement and the development of ARF in these patients.

Conclusions: Antibiotic-laden cement with aminoglycosides and/or vancomycin has the potential for systemic toxicity and should be used according to guidelines and with increased vigilance and prudent monitoring in patients at increased risk for nephrotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Bone Cements / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / chemically induced
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Tobramycin / adverse effects*
  • Vancomycin / adverse effects*


  • Bone Cements
  • Vancomycin
  • Tobramycin