Antibiotic prophylaxis in cerebrospinal fluid shunting: reassessment of Cefotiam penetration into human CSF.

Research paper by M M Knoop, M M Schütze, J J Piek, B B Drewelow, R R Mundkowski

Indexed on: 10 May '07Published on: 10 May '07Published in: Zentralblatt fur Neurochirurgie


Shunt infection is a major complication of shunt implantation. Numerous clinical studies give evidence that antibiotic prophylaxis is efficacious in preventing infections after cerebrospinal fluid shunting. In CSF shunting, antibiotics need to reach sufficient concentrations not only in the blood shielding the operative field but also in tissues and the CSF compartment. Cefotiam is widely used for prophylaxis in neurosurgery. Some clinical trials report that this beta-lactam is able to penetrate considerably into the CSF. However, these studies include disease patterns which are most likely to be associated with a pathological permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the extent of penetration of Cefotiam into human CSF in patients without morphological disruption of the blood-brain barrier.The penetration of Cefotiam into human CSF was investigated in 23 patients without morphological disruption of the blood-brain barrier undergoing CSF shunt surgery. 2 g Cefotiam was administered prior to surgery as a short-term infusion for a period of 15 min. Samples of blood and CSF were collected intraoperatively. The concentrations of Cefotiam were determined by bioassay.All patients (n=23) showed moderate to high plasma levels of Cefotiam (range: 19.8-146.2 mg/L); the pharmacokinetic profiles in blood accorded well with published data. In contrast to earlier studies, no Cefotiam was detected in CSF.This study clearly demonstrates that Cefotiam does not penetrate through an intact blood-brain barrier into human CSF. Although Cefotiam has been shown to be valuable for the perioperative prophylaxis of shunt infection, other antibiotics might be superior if they are capable of entering the CSF. Further studies are required to address this assumption.