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J Pharm Pract. 2011 Feb;24(1):35-43. doi: 10.1177/0897190010388906.

Infectious diseases in the critically ill patients.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA.


Infection is common in the critically ill and often results due to the severity of the patient's illness. Recent data suggest 51% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients are infected, and 71% receive antimicrobial therapy. Bacterial infection is the primary concern, although some fungal infections are opportunistic. Infection more than doubles the ICU mortality rate, and the costs associated with infection may be as high as 40% of total ICU expenditures. There are many contemporary antimicrobial resistance concerns that the critical care clinician must consider in managing the pharmacotherapy of infection. Methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin resistance in Enterococci, beta-lactamase resistance in Enterobacteriaceae, multidrug resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter species, fluoroquinolone resistance in Escherichia coli, and fungal resistance are among the most common issues ICU clinician's must face in managing infection. Critical illness causes changes in pharmacokinetics that influence drug and dosing considerations. Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion may all be affected by the various disease states that define critical illness. Several specific diseases are discussed, including ventilator-associated pneumonia, various fungal infections, gastrointestinal infections due to Clostridium difficile, urinary tract infections, and bloodstream infections. Within each disease section, discussion includes causes and prevention strategies, microbiology, evidence-based guidelines, and important caveats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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