Diagnosis of Sepsis

(based on the Sepsis Guidelines)

(Level III) Appropriate cultures should be obtained before antimicrobial therapy is initiated, although one should not delay antibiotic administration unnecessarily in order to wait for cultures (i.e. get the cultures quickly) – at least two blood cultures should be obtained with at least one drawn percutaneously and one drawn through each vascular access device, unless the device was recently (< 48 hrs) inserted. Cultures of other sites (urine, CSF, wounds, respiratory secretions, etc.) should be obtained as the clinical situation dictates.

(Level IV or V) Other diagnostic studies should be performed promptly to determine the source of the infection and the causative organism. Imaging studies and sampling of likely infection sources should be performed unless the patient is too unstable (in which case bedside studies, such as ultrasound, may be useful).