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Critical Care Patient with Septic Shock

A patient suffering from status epilepticus and traumatic brain injury was admitted to the ICU


In the case presented, the T2Bacteria result enabled clinicians to initiate appropriate antibiotic therapy within three hours from the diagnosis of septic shock and helped to avoid the unnecessary Gram-positive antibiotic coverage while targeting therapy to cover for P. aeruginosa.


A 36-year-old male patient suffering from status epilepticus and traumatic brain injury was intubated and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). During his ICU stay the patient became febrile and a diagnosis of intubation-associated sinusitis was made. Prior respiratory cultures revealed Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-producing) and the patient was started on ceftazidime-avibactam. Over the next 24 hours, the patient deteriorated clinically and fulfilled the criteria of septic shock requiring fluid resuscitation and initiation of vasopressors. The attending physicians obtained new blood cultures and added empiric Gram-positive antibiotic coverage. A T2Bacteria test was also ordered.

Patient Selection Criteria

Critical care patient with septic shock and bloodstream infection suspected.

Evaluation and Treatment Decision


Septic shock

Empiric Therapy

The patient was on ceftazidime-avibactam at the time of septic shock. This antibiotic selection was based on previous microbiology results (respiratory fluid culture).

T2Bacteria Result

P. aeruginosa

Blood Culture Result

P. aeruginosa (returned 72 hours after T2Bacteria positive result)

Decision making based on T2Bacteria Result

A rapid T2Bacteria result allowed for the timely identification of the P. aeruginosa bacteremia in a patient that was receiving therapy for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae infection. This finding prompted the escalation of therapy with the addition of colistin to cover for the P. aeruginosa infection according to local antibiotic resistance patterns and breakthrough infection while on ceftazidime-avibactam. Gram-positive coverage was discontinued and the blood culture result came back positive for P. aeruginosa 72 hours later.


According to the CDC, of the 154 million prescriptions for antibiotics written in doctors’ offices and emergency departments each year, 30% are unnecessary.12