Morphomics-informed population pharmacokinetic and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling to optimize cefazolin surgical prophylaxis

Pharmacotherapy. 2024 Jan;44(1):77-86. doi: 10.1002/phar.2878. Epub 2023 Sep 29.


Introduction: Cefazolin is the leading antibiotic used to prevent surgical site infections worldwide. Consensus guidelines recommend adjustment of the cefazolin dose above and below 120 kg without regard to body composition. Algorithms exist to repurpose radiologic data into body composition (morphomics) and inform dosing decisions in obesity.

Objectives: To compare the current standard of body weight to morphomic measurements as covariates of cefazolin pharmacokinetics and aid dose stratification of cefazolin in patients with obesity undergoing colorectal surgery.

Methods: This prospective study measured cefazolin plasma, fat, and colon tissue concentrations in colorectal surgery patients in order to develop a morphomics-informed population pharmacokinetic (PopPK) model to guide dose adjustments. A physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model was also constructed to inform tissue partitioning in morbidly obese patients (n = 21, body mass index ≥35 kg/m2 with one or more co-morbid conditions).

Results: Morphomics and pharmacokinetic data were available in 58 patients with a median [min, max] weight and age of 95.9 [68.5, 148.8] kg and 55 [25, 79] years, respectively. The plasma-to-subcutaneous fat partition coefficient was predicted to be 0.072 and 0.060 by the PopPK and PBPK models, respectively. The estimated creatinine clearance (eCLcr ) and body depth at the third lumbar vertebra (body depth_L3) were identified as covariates of cefazolin exposure. The probability of maintaining subcutaneous fat concentrations above 2 μg/mL for 100% of a 4-h surgical period was below 90% when eCLcr ≥105 mL/min and body depth_L3 ≥ 300 mm and less sensitive to the rate of infusion between 5 and 60 min.

Conclusions: Kidney function and morphomics were more informative than body weight as covariates of cefazolin target site exposure. Data from more diverse populations, consensus on target cefazolin exposure, and comparative studies are needed before a change in practice can be implemented.

Keywords: cefazolin; colorectal surgery; obesity; pharmacokinetics.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Cefazolin* / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control


  • Cefazolin
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents