A Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis to Study the Effect of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation on Cefepime Disposition in Children

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2019 Jan;20(1):62-70. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001786.


Objectives: Limited data exist on the effects of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation on pharmacokinetics of cefepime in critically ill pediatric patients. The objective was to describe cefepime disposition in children treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation using population pharmacokinetic modeling.

Design: Multicenter, prospective observational study.

Setting: The pediatric and cardiac ICUs of six sites of the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network.

Patients: Seventeen critically ill children (30 d to < 2 yr old) on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation who received cefepime as standard of care between January 4, 2014, and August 24, 2015, were enrolled.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: A pharmacokinetic model was developed to evaluate cefepime disposition differences due to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. A two-compartment model with linear elimination, weight effects on clearance, intercompartmental clearance (Q), central volume of distribution (V1), and peripheral volume of distribution (V2) adequately described the data. The typical value of clearance in this study was 7.1 mL/min (1.9 mL/min/kg) for a patient weighing 5.8 kg. This value decreased by approximately 40% with the addition of renal replacement therapy. The typical value for V1 was 1,170 mL. In the setting of blood transfusions, V1 increased by over two-fold but was reduced with increasing age of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation circuit oxygenator.

Conclusions: Cefepime clearance was reduced in pediatric patients treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation compared with previously reported values in children not receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The model demonstrated that the age of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation circuit oxygenator is inversely correlated to V1. For free cefepime, only 14 of the 19 doses (74%) demonstrated a fT_minimum inhibitory concentration of 16 mg/L, an appropriate target for the treatment of pseudomonal infections, for greater than 70% of the dosing interval. Pediatric patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation might benefit from the addition of therapeutic drug monitoring of cefepime to assure appropriate dosing.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Body Weight
  • Cefepime / pharmacokinetics*
  • Critical Illness
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Binding / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefepime