Empiric Antimicrobial Therapy in Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: Optimizing Pathogen Clearance

  • Stephen Y. Liang
  • Anand KumarEmail author
Sepsis and ICU (L Napolitano, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sepsis and ICU


Mortality and morbidity in severe sepsis and septic shock remain high despite significant advances in critical care. Efforts to improve outcome in septic conditions have focused on targeted, quantitative resuscitation strategies utilizing intravenous fluids, vasopressors, inotropes, and blood transfusions to correct disease-associated circulatory dysfunction driven by immune-mediated systemic inflammation. This review explores an alternate paradigm of septic shock in which microbial burden is identified as the key driver of mortality and progression to irreversible shock. We propose that clinical outcomes in severe sepsis and septic shock hinge upon the optimized selection, dosing, and delivery of highly potent antimicrobial therapy.


Septic shock Sepsis Infection Antimicrobial Antibiotic Pharmacokinetics Combination therapy Survival 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Stephen Liang is the recipient of a KM1 Comparative Effectiveness Research Career Development Award (KM1CA156708-01) and received support through the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program (UL1RR024992) of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as well as the Barnes-Jewish Patient Safety and Quality Career Development Program, which is funded by the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Anand Kumar holds investigator-initiated research grants for the study of septic shock from Astellas and Pfizer. He also holds additional unrelated research grants from GSK and Roche.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Division of Emergency MedicineWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Section of Critical Care Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, JJ399dHealth Sciences CentreWinnipegCanada

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