Microbiological efficacy and pharmacokinetics of prophylactic antibiotics in liver transplant patients

P. M. Arnow*, K. Furmaga, J. P. Flaherty, D. George

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The pharmacokinetics of perioperative systemic antibiotics and the microbiological effectiveness of oral nonabsorbable antibiotics started immediately prior to surgery were studied in 18 adult patients undergoing liver transplantation. All patients received cefotaxime, 2 g intravenously, at 6-h intervals during surgery and then at 8-h intervals thereafter for 48 h; eight patients also received ampicillin at the same dose and schedule. This regimen produced levels of antibiotics in blood that appeared appropriate for prophylaxis. The first dose peak (68 ± 18 μg/ml) and trough (6.9 ± 4.7 μg/ml) levels of cefotaxime in serum and the first dose peak (73 ± 22 μg/ml) and trough (4.1 ± 2.3 μg/ml) levels of ampicillin in serum, which were assayed by high-performance liquid chromatography, were similar to levels reported in normal volunteers, despite mean intraoperative blood loss of 3.3 liters and fluid replacement of 21 liters. On postoperative days 1 and 2, the levels of cefotaxime and ampicillin were maintained at or above 0.9 and 1.3 μg/ml, respectively, with little accumulation. By random assignment, 8 patients received systemic antibiotics alone and 10 patients received systemic antibiotics plus a 3-week regimen of oral nonabsorbable antibiotics (gentamicin, polymyxin E, and nystatin) beginning when a donor liver was procured. Pre- and postoperative cultures of rectum, throat, and gastric aspirate samples showed persistence of aerobic gram-negative bacilli for the first 2 postoperative weeks in about half of the patients in each group. Failure of the regimen of oral nonabsorbable antibiotics to supplement cefotaxime in eradicating aerobic gram-negative bacilli from stools probably results from impaired peristalsis during and after surgery and warrants earlier initiation of the regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2125-2130
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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