Background: Critically ill patients have an increased risk of developing infections and infectious complications, sometimes followed by death. Despite a substantial investment of resources in outcomes improvement, optimum treatment for such patients remains unclear for practicing intensivists.
Methods: We conducted a review that highlights the most recent developments in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infection and the evaluation of its outcomes. The review examines the prevention of infection, such as through daily bathing with chlorhexidine and the addition of probiotics to treatment regimens, and questions the previous standards of care, including the monitoring of gastric residuals and treatment of severely ill patients with drotrecogin alfa (activated). It also discusses novel approaches to the treatment of severely ill infected patients with extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation and the earlier normalization of body temperature.
Results: The development of new antibiotics continues at a slow pace, with the likelihood that alternative approaches to the management of infection, including changes in the quality of patient care, are producing needed improvements.
Conclusions: Clinical outcomes of infection are improving slowly as medical teams strive for better patient care. Lack of reimbursement is unnecessary as a punitive approach to infectious diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases