Impact of evaluating antibiotic concentrations in abdominal abscesses percutaneously drained

Lisa Hall Zimmerman, James G. Tyburski, Jerry Glowniak, Rohit Singla, Todd Lavery, Michael Nailor, Jerry Stassinopoulus, Kaleford Hong, Surendra Barshikar, Heather S. Dolman, Alfred E. Baylor, Robert F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Appropriate antibiotic therapy and prompt drainage are essential for optimal results with abdominal abscesses. Methods In this prospective study, 47 abdominal abscesses from 42 patients over 2 years who had percutaneous drainage were evaluated. Antibiotic concentrations were evaluated from the abscess fluid and correlated with clinical and microbiologic cure. Results Only 23% of patients had appropriate antibiotic selection with optimal concentrations for the bacteria recovered. Piperacillin/tazobactam, cefepime, and metronidazole provided adequate concentrations in all except the largest abscesses, whereas fluconazole required higher doses in all abscesses. Vancomycin and ciprofloxacin levels were inadequate in most abscesses. With gram-negative aerobes, the use of appropriate antibiotics resulted in a relatively higher incidence of presumed eradication (100% [4 of 4] vs 75% [9 of 12], P = .26). With <3 organisms identified, clinical failure was significant (58% vs 13%, P = .01). Conclusions For optimal treatment, abdominal abscesses require prompt drainage and properly selected antibiotics at adequate doses. Essential information can be obtained from abscess cultures and their antibiotic concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-352
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Abscess
  • Antibiotic concentrations
  • Drainage
  • Intra-abdominal infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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