UCSF Navigation Bar

UCSF Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Home Page

Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

Internal Resources

Click here for more information about laboratory operations and procedures

If you have additional questions regarding this test, please call: 415-353-1667

Search Our Test Menu


Item Value
Test Update Information Vancomycin assay changed from the Siemens Centaur method to the Beckman DxC method on 3/26/2012. The DxC assay yields vancomycin levels that average approximately 20% lower than the Centaur assay and are in better agreement with results reported with most other vancomycin assays in proficiency testing surveys.
Approval req'd? No
Available Stat? No

Vancomycin troughs are not recommended in patients in whom anticipated duration of therapy is short (≤ 3 days)

Only trough levels should be obtained. Vancomycin peaks have no clinical significance. Trough levels should be obtained within 30 minutes before 4th dose of a new regimen or dosage change.


Patients with unstable renal function or when serum Cr may not accurately reflect GFR i.e. patients > 70, reduced muscle mass (e.g. malnutrition, prolonged hospitalization, amputees, etc.)

Patients on continuous or intermittent hemodialysis (for intermittent HD draw a pre-dialysis level)

Patients with severely altered volumes of distribution (e.g. morbid obesity, significant edema, burns)

Initial and definitive therapy of suspected central nervous system infections, endocarditis, ventilator-associated pneumonia, bacteremia or osteomyelitis caused by MRSA.


Once weekly monitoring is reasonable in patients with stable renal function. (Data supporting safety of prolonged troughs of 15-20 mcg/ml is limited.)
Test code VANC
Performed by Parnassus & Mission Bay Chemistry
In House Availability Test available 24 hours per day 7 days a week
Method Turbidimetric inhibition immunoassay (Beckman DxC800)
Collection Instructions Time to steady state: 3 doses

Collect trough samples ≤ 30 minutes prior to 4th or subsequent dose. For patients on hemodialysis collect prior to dialysis.

Note exact time of collection on requisition AND sample.
Container type Gold top or Light Green top, CSF tube or sterile collection tube
Amount to Collect 1 mL blood
Sample type Serum or plasma, CSF
Preferred volume 0.5 mL serum or plasma
Min. Volume 0.2 mL serum or plasma
Processing notes Refrigerate serum.
Units mg/L
Normal range
Therapeutic trough, standard cases 10-20 mg/L
Therapeutic trough, exceptional cases 15-20 mg/L

Source of reference range: UCSF/SFGH/VASF joint guidelines for antimicrobial use in adults.

Click here for link
Synonyms Vancocin
Turn around times 1 day
Additional information Only a trough sample is recommended. If a peak level is deemed necessary, obtain the sample 60 min. after the end of the infusion.

Peak levels in the range of 30 – 40 mg/L may be expected with usual dosing. Toxicity may occur with vancomycin levels > 80 mg/L.

Therapeutic trough 10-20 mg/L recommended typically. However, for patients with serious MRSA infections (central nervous system infections, endocarditis, ventilator-associated pneumonia, bacteremia or osteomyelitis) trough levels of 15-20 mg/mL and ID consult are recommended.

Note: some monoclonal proteins may cause falsely low vancomycin results. The presence of human anti-mouse antibodies or heterophile antibodies may also interfere with the vancomycin assay in some cases. Testing for vancomycin levels in parallel dilution studies and with a different assay may be useful in cases where interference by a monoclonal protein or abnormal immunoglobulin is suspected.

Click here for: A Guide on Drug Level Monitoring
CPT coding 80202
LOINC code 4092-3
Last Updated 6/21/2016 12:02:42
Entry Number 974
Lab Procedure Link Click here for Procedure
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center