Vancomycin in ICU patients with gram-positive infections: Initial trough levels and mortality

Nadiyah Alshehri*, Anwar E. Ahmed, Nagarajkumar Yenugadhati, Sundas Javad, Khalid Al Sulaiman, Hasan M. Al-Dorzi, Majed Aljerasiy, Motasim Badri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Vancomycin is one of the most common therapeutic agents for treating gram- positive infections, particularly in critically ill patients. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with initial therapeutic vancomycin trough levels and mortality in a tertiary-care intensive care unit (ICU). Methods: This retrospective study evaluated 301 adult ICU patients admitted to King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 with confirmed gram-positive infections and received intravenous vancomycin. Vancomycin trough levels of 15-20 mg/L for severe infections and 10-15 mg/L for less severe infections were considered therapeutic. Results: The patients were relatively older with a mean age of 60 (SD ±20) years. Initial vancomycin trough levels were therapeutic in 168 (55.8%). Factors associated with initial therapeutic vancomycin trough levels were female gender (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=2.575), older age (aOR=1.024), receiving a loading dose (aOR=2.445), having bacteremia (aOR=2.061), and high platelet count (aOR=1.003). On the other hand, the increase of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (aOR=0.993) and albumin levels (aOR=0.944) were associated with lower odds of initial therapeutic vancomycin trough levels. Factors associated with higher mortality were female gender (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=2.630), increased body weight (aHR=1.021), cancer (aHR=3.451), and high APACHE II score (aHR=1.068). Conclusion: The study identified several factors associated with achieving initial therapeu- tic vancomycin trough levels (i.e. older age, female gender, receiving a loading dose, bacteremia, high platelets count, low eGFR and albumin level). These factors should be considered in the dosing of vancomycin in critically ill patients with gram-positive infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-987
Number of pages9
JournalTherapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Mortality
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Renal function
  • Serum trough levels
  • Vancomycin dosage


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