Targeting cefuroxime plasma concentrations during coronary artery bypass graft surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass

Int J Clin Pharm. 2015 Aug;37(4):592-8. doi: 10.1007/s11096-015-0101-8. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


Backgound: Patients are at risk for severe postoperative infections after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Clinical laboratory data showed that unbound plasma concentrations of cefuroxime were not always adequate, therefore we developed a new dosing regimen.

Objective: The aim of this prospective study is to evaluate the new dosing strategy by monitoring patients for unbound cefuroxime plasma concentrations during CABG surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB).

Setting: A Dutch teaching hospital.

Methods: In this prospective trial, patients scheduled for CABG surgery with CPB were included. A starting dose of 1500 mg cefuroxime was given with anesthesia induction, followed by 750 mg cefuroxime every hour until wound closure. In case of renal failure the dosing regimen was adapted. Serial blood samples were collected before, during and after the CPB process. Pharmacokinetic modelling was performed by using an 'iterative two-stage Bayesian population procedure'.

Main outcome measure: Unbound plasma concentrations of cefuroxime.

Results: 22 patients were included, data could be evaluated of 21 patients. In 24 % of the patients the unbound cefuroxime plasma concentration was below the target range during surgery before CPB started. Patients with a bodyweight above 100 kg or age <60 years were more likely to have unbound plasma concentrations below the target range (P = 0.030 and P = 0.008). During CPB, the half-life of unbound cefuroxime increased by 17 % and the clearance decreased by 11 % compared to before CPB (P = 0.033 and P = 0.014). The mean pharmacokinetic parameters before, during and after CPB were as follows: elimination half-life 72, 84 and 76 min; clearance of unbound cefuroxime (Clu) 14.2, 12.7, 13.8 l/h and volume of distribution (Vu) 0.280, 0.284 and 0.290 l/kg respectively. Variations in unbound fractions before, during and after CPB were below 2 %, implicating the unbound fraction of cefuroxime is not influenced by CPB.

Conclusion: Our results show that CPB during CABG surgery does not lead to inadequate unbound cefuroxime concentrations. Age, renal function and possibly also weight are more important factors that can result in unbound plasma cefuroxime concentrations below the target value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / blood*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / adverse effects
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / methods*
  • Cefuroxime / administration & dosage
  • Cefuroxime / blood*
  • Cefuroxime / pharmacokinetics
  • Cefuroxime / therapeutic use
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefuroxime