UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Antibiotic Timing

Posted: 12/15/2010 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/4/2023)
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The Importance of Antibiotic Timing for Sepsis and Septic Shock

  • Septic shock is perhaps the most common critical illness that emergency physicians manage.
  • In several studies, delays in initiating antibiotics for patients with septic shock were the strongest predictor of mortality.
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics should be administered ASAP (preferably within 60 minutes) to patients with septic shock. 
  • Selection of antibiotics should be based on the presumed source, the antibiogram at your institution, and the patient's risk factors for resistant organisms.


Funk DJ, Kumar A. Antimicrobial therapy for life-threatening infections: Speed is life. Crit Care Clin 2011; 27:53-76.