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July 1976

Determination of Serum Gentamicin Sulfate LevelsOrdering Patterns and Use as a Guide to Therapy

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(7):785-787. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630070033010

Determination of serum gentamicin levels (SGLs) is helpful in monitoring therapy in patients receiving this drug because there is a narrow therapeutic margin and serum levels may vary greatly between patients receiving similar doses. During a ten-month period, definite indications for obtaining SGL determinations were present for 189 of 212 serum samples (89.2%) submitted to the laboratory. However, 110 samples (51.9%) were improperly drawn and results of 85 samples (40.1%) were ignored. Only 26 of the 62 correctly drawn and not ignored samples (41.9%) were appropriately acted on. At most, 42 of the 212 samples (19.8%) were appropriately used in making patient-care decisions. Thus, in this study, an inordinately large number of SGLs were incorrectly drawn, apparently ignored, or inappropriately used in making patient-care decisions.

(Arch Intern Med 136:785-787, 1976)