Vancomycin is a commonly used antibiotic in neurosurgical practice. It is, however, notorious for causing histamine release which has been associated experimentally with rises in intracranial pressure (ICP). The observation that patients receivingg vancomycin had an elevation in ICP during vancomycin infusion over 1 h, and that this elevation persisted for the hour following infusion led to a more formal evaluation. Presented here are data obtained from 6 patients who received vancomycin while on external ventricular drainage for a variety of reasons. The mean ICP for the hour prior to, during and following vancomycin administration was 8 mm Hg (SD 5.6), 13.8 mm Hg (SD 4.9), and 12.6 mm Hg (SD 4.3), respectively. The data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance between the preadministration values, during-administration values and postadministration values. The p value was significant at < 0.0001. These observations led to experimentation in animals to further assess the effects of vancomycin on ICP. The mean ICP prior to, during and following vancomycin infusion was 1.95 mm Hg (SD 0.75), 8.4 mm Hg (SD 5.1) and 5.6 mm Hg (SD 2.5), respectively. The data were analyzed using a repeated measure analysis of variance for the preadministration, during-administration and postadministration values. The p value was significant at < 0.0001. Based on these data the use of vancomycin should be tempered in the setting of intracranial pathology.

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