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CME ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 651-656

Empirical antibiotics in the intensive care unit


FNB Trainee in Critical Care Medicine, National Board of Examinations. Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Souvik Chaudhuri
FNB Trainee in Critical Care Medicine, National Board of Examinations. Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Patients with complex medical and surgical issues are often admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). In such patients, prompt administration of broad spectrum empirical antibiotics is mandatory to control the infection. Antibiotic therapy should be instituted as soon as possible after the relevant culture specimens of blood, urine, endotracheal secretions or cerebrospinal fluid are sent. Ideally, empirical antibiotic therapy should be initiated within the first hour of admission of patients with suspected sepsis in ICU. While selecting the empirical antibiotic therapy, the patient's clinical history along with the probable source of infection, previous antibiotic history and most likely pathogens according to the prevalence in the particular intensive care unit (ICU) should be taken into account. A delay in initiating empirical antibiotic therapy is associated with a higher risk of progression to severe sepsis, more days on ventilator and ultimately an adverse outcome. However, empirical therapy should be de-escalated as soon as the culture and sensitivity reports are available to the clinician.


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