What are the treatment goals for septic shock and how are they accomplished?

Updated: Jan 27, 2020
  • Author: Ali H Al-Khafaji, MD, MPH, FACP, FCCP, FCCM; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Treatment of patients with septic shock has the following three major goals:

  • To resuscitate the patient from septic shock, using supportive measures to correct hypoxia, hypotension, and impaired tissue oxygenation

  • To identify the source of infection and treat it with antimicrobial therapy, surgery, or both

  • To maintain adequate organ system function, guided by cardiovascular monitoring, and to interrupt the pathogenesis of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS)

Current management principles used in addressing these goals include the following:

  • Early recognition

  • Early hemodynamic resuscitation

  • Early and adequate antibiotic therapy

  • Source control

  • Continued hemodynamic support

  • Corticosteroids (refractory vasopressor-dependent shock)

  • Tight glycemic control

  • Proper ventilator management with low tidal volume in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

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