patient care in an intensive care unit (icu) is associated with an increased risk of developing nosocomial infections. bacteremia is responsible for a great number of cases, 23% of which have attributable mortality in developed countries and can affect up to 52% of icu patients. the main cause of mortality is inadequate and inappropriate antimicrobial empirical therapy. the incorrect use of antimicrobials is a major risk for identifying multidrug resistant microorganisms, thereby involving increased morbidity, mortality and costs. implementing several surveillance systems and becoming acquainted with resistance patterns represent a valuable tool for identifying, preventing and treating this infectious complication. there is paucity of data regarding antimicrobial resistance in bacteremic patients in latin america, and the available data reveals a worrying scenario.