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VOLUME 4 , ISSUE 2 ( July-December, 2015 ) > List of Articles


Empirical antibiotics in the intensive care unit

Keywords : Catheter-related infections, empirical antibiotics, infections, intensive care unit

Citation Information : Empirical antibiotics in the intensive care unit. Indian J Respir Care 2015; 4 (2):651-656.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-11010-04210

License: NA

Published Online: 02-12-2022

Copyright Statement:  NA


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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