Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Vancomycin in Critically Ill Children

  • Kannan SridharanEmail author
  • Amal Al Daylami
  • Reema Ajjawi
  • Husain Al-Ajooz
  • Sindhan Veeramuthu
Original Research Article


Background and Objective

Critically ill children exhibit altered pharmacokinetic parameters of vancomycin, mainly due to altered renal excretion and volume of distribution (as a result of altered plasma protein concentrations). We assessed the pharmacokinetic parameters of vancomycin in this subpopulation.


Vancomycin trough concentrations in critically ill children were obtained following first dose and at steady state. Using a one-compartment model, clearance (CL), volume of distribution (Vd), elimination half-life (t1/2), and area under the time–concentration curve for 24 h (AUC0–24) were estimated. Subgroup analyses were carried out, with patients differentiated based on age, renal clearance, outcome, and renal dysfunction. Protein-free vancomycin concentrations were calculated using a previously reported formula.


Twenty-two samples were evaluated for first-dose and 182 for steady-state pharmacokinetics, and similar pharmacokinetic parameter values were observed at first dose and at steady state. Only 36.4% and 47.3% of the samples attained the recommended AUC0–24 (mg·hr/L) of > 400 at first dose and at steady state, while 62.5% of the patients with renal dysfunction achieved this target. Nearly 40% of the patients had augmented renal clearance (ARC), which was associated with higher CL, shorter t1/2, and lower AUC values. Amongst the patients with ARC, none had AUC0–24 (mg·hr/L) > 400 at first dose, while 16% achieved this target at steady state. Volume of distribution was significantly higher in infants and a decreasing trend was observed in toddlers, children, and older children at steady state. Children with renal dysfunction had lower CL, prolonged t1/2, and higher AUC values than patients with normal renal clearance at first dose. A good correlation was observed between trough concentration and AUC0–24, as corroborated by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. The median fraction of protein-free vancomycin was around 77%.


Vancomycin dosing strategies in younger children should be revisited, and increased doses should be considered for critically ill children with ARC in order to achieve therapeutic concentrations of AUC0–24.




Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding was received to conduct this study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

The study was carried out after obtaining approval from the relevant ethics committees.

Informed consent

Since it was a retrospective study using anonymised data consent from patients was not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical SciencesArabian Gulf UniversityManamaBahrain
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Medical SciencesArabian Gulf UniversityManamaBahrain
  3. 3.Pediatric Intensive Care UnitSalmaniya Medical Complex, Ministry of HealthManamaBahrain

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