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Coda Change

Nov 27, 2016

Antibiotic Use for Sepsis in Critical Care: Steve McGloughlin

Steve McGloughlin presents his thoughts on antibiotics and their use in sepsis and critical care.

Steve discusses the ABC of sepsis… the trouble is after A for Antibiotics there is not a whole lot else! In sepsis and severe infection, the goal is to change the trajectory of the patient, away from death and to a more favourable outcome. The tools that are currently on offer in critical care are pretty simple.

There are things to support the patient such as fluid and ventilators. In addition, we consider goal directed therapy. In terms of definitive therapy, the list is quite small. Perhaps only antibiotics and source control can be turned to.

Antibiotics are a powerful tool.

So much so that the number needed to treat is around four. They are also very commonly used. 70-80% of patients in the ICU will get antibiotics – far higher than nearly all other treatments. Steve has some basic advice for the use of antibiotics to enhance their effectiveness.

Go early as possible when prescribing and administering. In saying that, he cautions to move beyond simple antibiotic prescribing regimes. Whilst we need early antibiotics, we need the right antibiotics.

Why? Alexander Fleming warned against drug resistant bugs when developing penicillin. There has been reports of pandrug resistant organisms (bug against which no known drug is effective) in multiple countries and 214 000 neonatal sepsis deaths per year are attributed to resistant pathogens.

Steve concludes with a discussion on what more we need when considering sepsis. We need more than antibiotics. As it stands one definition covers all categories of sepsis.

The result is a homogenous treatment protocol. In reality, the source, the bug and the pathology all change the disease and all call for an individualised treatment regime. That is the future.

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