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BackgroundSepsis is a common condition managed in the emergency department, and the majority of patients respond to resuscitation measures, including antibiotics and i.v. fluids. However, a proportion of patients will fail to respond to standard treatment.ObjectiveThis review elucidates practical considerations for management of sepsis in patients who fail to respond to standard treatment.DiscussionEarly goal-directed therapy revolutionized sepsis management. However, there is aÂ paucity of literature that provides a well-defined treatmentÂ algorithm for patients who fail to improve withÂ therapy. Refractory shock can be defined as continuedÂ patient hemodynamic instability (mean arterial pressure,Â â¤Â 65Â mm Hg, lactateÂ â¥Â 4Â mmol/L, altered mental status) after adequate fluid loading (at least 30Â mL/kg i.v.), the use of two vasopressors (with one as norepinephrine), and provision of antibiotics. When a lack of improvement is evident in the early stages of resuscitation, systematically considering source control, appropriate volume resuscitation, adequate antimicrobial coverage, vasopressor selection, presence of metabolic pathology, and complications of resuscitation, such as abdominal compartment syndrome and respiratory failure, allow emergency physicians to address the entire clinical scenario.ConclusionsThe care of sepsis has experienced many changes in recent years. Care of the patient with sepsis who is not responding appropriately to initial resuscitation is troublesome for emergency physicians. This review provides practical considerations for resuscitation of the patient with septic shock. When a septic patient is refractory to standard therapy, systematically evaluating the patient and clinical course may lead to improved outcomes.
Journal: The Journal of Emergency Medicine - Volume 52, Issue 4, April 2017, Pages 472-483