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Sepsis and septic shock: selection of empiric antimicrobial therapy.

by Burke A Cunha
Critical care clinics ()
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This article is a brief overview of empiric antibiotic selection for sepsis and septic shock. The article includes a differential diagnosis of the mimics of sepsis and stresses a strategy for avoiding problems associated with antibiotic resistance. Although early appropriate empiric therapy is the cornerstone of sepsis and septic shock therapy, nonantibiotic interventions are critical as well. In patients with septic shock, adequate and effective early volume replacement is essential. Early surgical intervention is critical in controlling and eliminating the septic focus if sepsis is related to perforation of a viscus (eg, the colon); obstruction of the biliary, gastrointestinal, or urinary tract; or presence of an abscess that requires drainage. If device-related infection is the cause of sepsis, device removal is essential. Empiric monotherapy for sepsis and septic shock is preferred. Multiple-drug therapy is more expensive, has an increased potential for drug-drug interactions, has a higher likelihood of side effects, and does not decrease the resistance potential of the antibiotics being used. For these reasons, early empiric monotherapy is optimal and de-escalation is not necessary if initial mono therapy was wisely selected.

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