Pharmacokinetics of cefazolin prophylaxis in obese gravidae at time of cesarean delivery

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Oct;213(4):541.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.06.034. Epub 2015 Jun 20.


Objective: The objective of the study was to compare the pharmacokinetics of 2 g and 3 g doses of cefazolin when used for perioperative prophylaxis in obese gravidae undergoing cesarean delivery.

Study design: We performed a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial from August 2013 to April 2014. Twenty-six obese women were randomized to receive either 2 or 3 g intravenous cefazolin within 30 minutes of a skin incision. Serial maternal plasma samples were obtained at specific time points up to 8 hours after drug administration. Umbilical cord blood was obtained after placental delivery. Maternal adipose samples were obtained prior to fascial entry, after closure of the hysterotomy, and subsequent to fascial closure. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined via noncompartmental analysis.

Results: The median area under the plasma concentration vs time curve was significantly greater in the 3 g group than in the 2 g group (27204 μg/mL per minute vs 14058 μg/mL per minute; P = .001). Maternal plasma concentrations had an impact by body mass index. For every 1 kg/m(2) increase in body mass index at the time of the cesarean delivery, there was an associated 13.77 μg/mL lower plasma concentration of cefazolin across all time points (P = .01). By the completion of cesarean delivery, cefazolin concentrations in maternal adipose were consistently above the minimal inhibitory concentration for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with both the 2 g and 3 g doses. The median umbilical cord blood concentrations were significantly higher in the 3 g vs the 2 g group (34.5 μg/mL and 21.4 μg/mL; P = .003).

Conclusion: Cefazolin concentrations in maternal adipose both at time of hysterotomy closure and fascial closure were above the minimal inhibitory concentration for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria when either 2 g or 3 g cefazolin was administered as perioperative surgical prophylaxis. Maternal cefazolin concentrations in plasma and maternal adipose tissue are related to both dose and body mass index.

Keywords: cefazolin; cesarean delivery; obesity; pharmacokinetics; surgical prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cefazolin / administration & dosage
  • Cefazolin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cesarean Section / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / chemistry*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefazolin