Sepsis is associated with marked mortality, which may be reduced by prompt initiation of adequate, appropriate doses of antibiotic. Critically ill patients often have physiological changes that reduce blood and tissue concentrations of antibiotic and high rates of multidrug-resistant pathogens, which may affect patients’ outcomes. All critical care professionals, including critical care nurses, should understand antibiotic pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to ensure sound antibiotic dosing and administration strategies for optimal microbial killing and patients’ outcomes. Effective pathogen eradication occurs when the dose of antibiotic reaches or maintains optimal concentrations relative to the minimum inhibitory concentration for the pathogen. Time-dependent antibiotics, such as β-lactams, can be given as extended or continuous infusions. Concentration-dependent antibiotics such as aminoglycosides are optimized by using high, once-daily dosing strategies with serum concentration monitoring. Vancomycin and fluoroquinolones are dependent on both time and concentration above the minimum inhibitory concentration.

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