Mortality rates among patients with sepsis, severe sepsis or septic shock ranges from 27% to 54%. Empirical broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment is aimed at achieving adequate antimicrobial therapy and thus reducing mortality. However, there is a risk that empirical broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment can expose patients to overuse of antimicrobials. De-escalation has been proposed as a strategy to replace empirical broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment with a narrower antimicrobial therapy. This is done by either changing the pharmacological agent or discontinuing a pharmacological combination according to the patient's microbial culture results.