Biography:

In the past Joseph Varon has collaborated on articles with George Sternbach and Thomas G. Slama. One of their most recent publications is Resuscitation attitudes among medical personnel: How much do we really want to be done?. Which was published in journal Resuscitation.

More information about Joseph Varon research including statistics on their citations can be found on their Copernicus Academic profile page.

Joseph Varon's Articles: (21)

Resuscitation attitudes among medical personnel: How much do we really want to be done?

AbstractCardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is attempted every day. Whereas medical professionals and personnel perform these resuscitation attempts, no previous studies have reported the attitudes of medical personnel towards resuscitation for themselves. We have attempted to assess the prevalent attitudes among various physicians at various levels in training and nurses. An eleven item questionnaire was sent to medical students, house officers, attending physicians and registered nurses at university medical centers. Each questionnaire consisted of respondent's sociodemographic information, their attitudes about CPR for themselves and their beliefs about outcome after CPR with particular disease states. The results were analyzed using chi-square analysis. Four hundred questionnaires were mailed and 240 were returned (60% response rate). All groups favored resuscitation in a university hospital over other sites (P < 0.05). More nurses requested to be ‘no code’ compared with other professionals (P < 0.005). Attending physicians requested that CPR attempts be terminated after less time than any other group (P < 0.005). Medical students requested resuscitation significantly more than any other group in the presence of terminal conditions such as metastatic cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (P < 0.005). Medical personnel's beliefs about CPR may be influenced by their experiences with particular patients and events. As trainees acquire more experience they appear less inclined to desire resuscitation efforts for themselves.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Lessons from the past

AbstractOne of the most startling ideas of modern medicine is that “sudden death” may be reversed; however, this idea was not reached easily. In its earliest forms, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is probably as old as the human being. The evolution of CPR represents, as does the evolution of medicine as a whole, a history of human error and human discovery. Although it is common to ascribe the development of CPR to Kouwenhoven and colleagues at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in fact they refined and popularized a method that had been evolving over several millennia. This paper reviews the most important advances in resuscitation prior to the 20th century.

Alexander fleming: The spectrum of penicillin

AbstractThe discovery of penicillin was directly linked to the inhibition by that agent of the growth of colonies of staphylococcus. However, subsequent resistance by this organism to penicillin as well as to a number of other agents has marked the history of staphylococcus in the antibiotic era. One of the most important mechanisms of this resistance has been the production of penicillinase, an enzyme that inactivates penicillin and related antibiotics. Penicillinase is currently termed betalactamase, and it is now recognized that there are several types of beta-lactamases produced by various organisms. The ability of staphylococci to produce this enzyme has been countered by the development of penicillinase-resistant agents and the addition of beta-lactamase inhibitors to antibiotics.

A clinician’s guide to the appropriate and accurate use of antibiotics: the Council for Appropriate and Rational Antibiotic Therapy (CARAT) criteria

In response to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, leading to increasing bacterial resistance and decreasing development of new antibiotics, the Council for Appropriate and Rational Antibiotic Therapy (CARAT) has developed criteria to guide appropriate and accurate antibiotic selection. The criteria, which are aimed at optimizing antibiotic therapy, include evidence-based results, therapeutic benefits, safety, optimal drug for the optimal duration, and cost-effectiveness.

POSTGRADUATE EDUCATION CORNERCONTEMPORARY REVIEWS IN CRITICAL CARE MEDICINEHypertensive Crises: Challenges and Management

Hypertension affects > 65 million people in the United States and is one of the leading causes of death. One to two percent of patients with hypertension have acute elevations of BP that require urgent medical treatment. Depending on the degree of BP elevation and presence of end-organ damage, severe hypertension can be defined as either a hypertensive emergency or a hypertensive urgency. A hypertensive emergency is associated with acute end-organ damage and requires immediate treatment with a titratable short-acting IV antihypertensive agent. Severe hypertension without acute end-organ damage is referred to as a hypertensive urgency and is usually treated with oral antihypertensive agents. This article reviews definitions, current concepts, common misconceptions, and pitfalls in the diagnosis and management of patients with acutely elevated BP as well as special clinical situations in which BP must be controlled.

Postgraduate Education CornerTherapeutic Hypothermia

Cardiac arrest causes devastating neurologic morbidity and mortality. The preservation of the brain function is the final goal of resuscitation. Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) has been considered as an effective method for reducing ischemic injury of the brain. The therapeutic use of hypothermia has been utilized for millennia, and over the last 50 years has been routinely employed in the operating room. TH gained recognition in the past 6 years as a neuroprotective agent in victims of cardiac arrest after two large, randomized, prospective clinical trials demonstrated its benefits in the postresuscitation setting. Extensive research has been done at the cellular and molecular levels and in animal models. There are a number of proposed applications of TH, including traumatic brain injury, acute encephalitis, stroke, neonatal hypoxemia, and near-drowning, among others. Several devices are being designed with the purpose of decreasing temperature at a fast and steady rate, and trying to avoid potential complications. This article reviews the historical development of TH, and its current indications, methods of induction, and potential future.

ReviewsThe Hemodynamic Derangements in Sepsis: Implications for Treatment Strategies

The incidence of the sepsis syndrome has increased dramatically in the last few decades. During this time, we have gained new insights into the pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to organ dysfunction in this syndrome. Yet, despite this increased knowledge and the use of novel therapeutic approaches, the mortality associated with the sepsis syndrome has remained between 30% and 40%. Appropriate antibiotic selection and hemodynamic support remain the cornerstone of treatment of patients with sepsis. Recent studies have failed to demonstrate a global oxygen debt in patients with sepsis. Furthermore, therapy aimed at increasing systemic oxygen delivery has failed to consistently improve patient outcome. The primary aim of the initial phase of resuscitation is to restore an adequate tissue perfusion pressure. Aggressive volume resuscitation is considered the best initial therapy for the cardiovascular instability of sepsis. Vasoactive agents are required in patients who remain hemodynamically unstable or have evidence of tissue hypoxia after adequate volume resuscitation.(CHEST 1998; 114:854–860)Abbreviations: ATP=adenosine triphosphate; Do2=oxygen delivery; L/P=lactate/pyruvate

Cardiology/original researchClevidipine, an Intravenous Dihydropyridine Calcium Channel Blocker, Is Safe and Effective for the Treatment of Patients With Acute Severe Hypertension

Study objectiveWe assess the safety and efficacy of intravenous clevidipine for treating patients with acute severe increase in blood pressure by using prespecified, non–weight-based titration dosing, with continuous maintenance infusion for 18 hours or longer.MethodsProspective, open-label, single-arm evaluation of patients aged 18 years or older and presenting in the emergency department or ICU with severe hypertension (systolic blood pressure >180 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure >115 mm Hg) and treated with clevidipine to achieve a predetermined, patient-specific systolic blood pressure target range. Clevidipine was initiated at 2 mg per hour and titrated as needed in doubling increments every 3 minutes to a maximum of 32 mg per hour, during 30 minutes, and then continued for a total duration of 18 to 96 hours.ResultsStudy patients commonly presented with both acute hypertension and end-organ injury; 81% (102/126) had demonstrable end-organ injury at baseline. Within 30 minutes of starting clevidipine, 88.9% (104/117) of patients achieved target range. Median time to target range was 10.9 minutes. No concomitant intravenous antihypertensives were needed in 92.3% (108/117) of patients receiving 18 hours or more of clevidipine infusion. Clevidipine was well tolerated with successful transition to oral antihypertensive therapy after infusion to a defined blood pressure target in 91.3% (115/126) of patients.ConclusionClevidipine, dosed in a non–weight-based manner, was safe and effective in a cohort of patients with severe hypertension at a starting dose of 2 mg per hour, followed by simple titration during 18 hours or more of continuous infusion. Patients were effectively managed via simple blood pressure cuff monitoring throughout.

CASE REPORTComplete neurological recovery following delayed initiation of hypothermia in a victim of warm water near-drowning☆

SummaryInduced hypothermia has been demonstrated to improve outcome following cardiac arrest and is now widely endorsed. However, the optimal method of cooling and the identification of patients most likely to benefit from this therapy remains to be determined. We report a patient in whom there was a long delay in return of spontaneous circulation (at least 45 min) and the initiation of induced hypothermia (12 h) who made an almost complete neurological recovery following cardiac arrest from warm-water near-drowning.

Short communicationIntensive insulin therapy in the ICU: Is it now time to jump off the bandwagon?☆

SummaryFollowing the publication of the Leuven Intensive Insulin Therapy (IIT) study in 2001, tight glycemic control has become regarded as the standard of care in intensive care units throughout the world. The Leuven IIT study, was however, an unblinded, single center study with unique patient and institutional characteristics that may not extrapolate to practice elsewhere in the world. Indeed, recent randomized controlled studies have been unable to demonstrate any benefit from tight glucemic control. We suggest that the widespread adoption of tight glycemic control be abandoned at this time.

Resuscitation greatKarel Wenckebach: The story behind the block

SummaryThe first documentation of a human atrioventricular (AV) block dates back to 1873, when A.L. Galabin reported a 34-year-old patient using an apexcardiogram. This was followed the same year by Luciani, recording 2nd degree AV blocks while studying frogs. In 1899, Karel F. Wenckebach provided the cardiology field with the criteria of what he called “Luciani periods”, what we now know as Wenckebach Periodicity or Mobitz I AV block. The classic electrocardiographic presentation of Mobitz I/Wenckebach periodicity is characterized by progressive prolongation of the PR interval on the electrocardiogram (EKG) on consecutive beats followed by a blocked P wave. This clinical entity is the first and most common of two types of 2nd degree AV block. This manuscript reviews the life of Karel F. Wenckebach and the events that led this great Dutch physician to make one of the most important contributions to the field of cardiology.

Resuscitation greatGeorge W. Crile: A visionary mind in resuscitation

SummaryGeorge Washington Crile was a successful surgeon who lived at the end of the 19th century. He was born on 11 November 1864 on a farm near Chili, Ohio. He became interested in the study of shock after a close friend died from hemorrhage. Crile dedicated his research years to the study of shock, cardiac arrest, and the use of adrenaline. His research on shock and cardiac arrest led to treatment guidelines that are still used today. He also participated in the Spanish-American War and in World War I as a Navy Surgeon and saved the lives of many soldiers with his principles of blood transfusion and sanitation. He is also known in the surgical world as the grandfather of radical neck dissection and received the Gold Lannelongue Medal and prize. Having written over 400 papers and 24 books, George W. Crile died from complications of bacterial endocarditis on 7th January 1943. Although they were published a long time ago, his contributions to medicine remain fundamental to clinical practice in today’s operating rooms and critical care units.

Resuscitation greatThe men and history behind the venturi mask

AbstractThe delivery of supplemental oxygen is a critical part in the management of patients presenting with acute hypoxemia. While a number of delivery options are available, one of easiest and least invasive is the simple facemask or “Venturi” mask. Worldwide, these types of masks have been used for over 50 years. Developed initially as simple oxygen-delivery system, the face mask has evolved, acquiring more complexity and efficacy by the application of physical principles in an attempt to provide maximal patient benefit. The original Venturi mask was created by the British physician Earl James Moran Campbell. It was named after the Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi who described the principal of increased velocity of a gas resulting in lower pressures, Campbell incorporated Venturi's principle into the oxygen delivery facemask. By using this principle, precise oxygen delivery occurs, thus, representing the standard of supplemental oxygen facemasks today.

Physicians’ own preferences to the limitation and withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy

AbstractWhile limiting and forgoing therapy at the end of life is now accepted on medical, ethical, moral and legal grounds, many Americans continue to die with heroic measures being taken to prevent their death. Recent studies have demonstrated that physicians frequently attend to their patients without knowledge of their preferences with regards to end-of-life issues. It is postulated that a physician’s personal preferences with regard to the limitation and withdrawal of life support and active euthanasia would effect the discussion they had with their patients. The purpose of this study was to analyze end-of-life preferences of a diverse group of practicing physicians. The participants were active attending physicians at a community hospital, a rural referral center, a large tertiary care referral academic complex, and a specialized tertiary care referral center all within the United States. A questionnaire was developed which was mailed to attending physicians at the four participating medical centers. The respondents provided basic demographic data, do-not-resuscitate (DNR) preferences under various clinical circumstances as well as responses to a number of case vignettes. Six hundred and forty physicians responded to the survey. The mean age of the respondents was 46 years; 72% were male. In the event of a cardiac arrest less than 20% of respondents would want to undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the setting of chronic end stage organ failure; the positive response rate was 5% for metastatic cancer and 2% for Alzheimer’s disease. If death was imminent, 87% of physicians indicated they would want treatment withdrawn. Similarly, 95% of respondents indicated that they would want treatment withdrawn should they be in a persistent vegetative state. Only 1% of respondents believed that health care providers should never remove or withhold life-sustaining therapy. Should they have advanced motor neuron disease, 38% of physicians indicated they would request that their life be ended. The majority of physicians surveyed volunteered that they would want life-sustaining measures to be limited at the end of their life. A significant number were in favor of active euthanasia. This study suggests that it is unlikely that physicians’ personal beliefs in regards to end-of-life care result in the failure to discuss these issues with their patients.

ReviewEvolution and new perspective of chest compression mechanical devices

AbstractCardiac arrest is a major concern in health care, owing to its high incidence and mortality rates. Since the development of external cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), there has been little advancement in nonpharmacologic therapies that have increased survival rates associated with cardiac arrest. Consequently, there has been much interest in the development of new techniques to improve the efficacy of CPR, particularly in the development of devices. Initially, many of the devices developed were not considered functional and failed to gain acceptance in the clinical setting. Recently, however, several devices have been developed which have progressed the administration of CPR and garnered acceptance in the clinical setting. In this article we will briefly review some of the more common mechanical devices developed to increase the safety and efficacy of CPR administration.

Selected topic: disaster medicineCritical illness at mass gatherings is uncommon☆

AbstractGatherings of large numbers of people at concerts, sporting events, and other occasions lead to an assembled population with a potential for a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. The collection of large numbers of people in a single location has led some authors to recommend the placement of resuscitation equipment or other medical services in close proximity to these activities. These recommendations not withstanding, data on the frequency of critical illness at mass gatherings (a group exceeding 1000 persons) are difficult to ascertain. Therefore, it was the purpose of this study to describe the incidence of critical illnesses among assembled populations at mass gatherings. An observational prospective study was conducted involving patient encounters at a large, multipurpose, indoor mass-gathering complex in Houston, Texas occurring between Septemver 1, 1996 and June 30, 1997. Demographic, treatment, disposition and diagnostic data were analyzed in a computerized database. Of the 3.3 million attendants to the 253 events analyzed during the 10-month study period, there were 2762 (0.08%) patient encounters. Fifty-two percent were women. Mean age was 32 ± 15.6 years. Of these patients, 51.1% were patrons and the remaining patients were employees or contractors of the facility. A wide variety of illness was seen with trauma (39.5%), headache (31%), and other medical complaints (29.5%) being most frequent. Disposition of the patients included 95.3% being discharged to go back to the event and 2.2% being counseled to seek other medical attention. One hundred twenty-nine patients (4.7%) were referred to the Emergency Department (ED); of these, 70 were transferred for abrasions, lacerations, or skeletal injuries and 13 for chest pain. Of those referred to the ED, 50 (38.7%) patients were transported by ambulance and only 17.4% were admitted to telemetry, with none admitted to an ICU. It is concluded that critical illness at mass gatherings is infrequent, as seen in this study, with very few being admitted to telemetry and none to an ICU. Careful consideration of cost-benefit should occur when determining allocation of resources for these activities.

Clinical communicationMediastinal teratoma presenting as massive hemoptysis in an adult

AbstractMassive hemoptysis is a rare but potentially life-threatening presentation in the emergency department (ED). We describe a case of massive hemoptysis caused by a mediastinal teratoma in an otherwise healthy young man. The teratoma had invaded into a bronchus and was resected successfully. The literature regarding massive hemoptysis due to mediastinal teratoma is reviewed. A differential diagnosis for massive hemoptysis is presented. The initial management of these patients in the ED and the diagnostic options are discussed.

Original ArticlesNalmefene: A Long-Acting Opioid Antagonist. Clinical Applications In Emergency Medicine

AbstractThe use of the opioid antagonist naloxone is well known to the experienced health care provider. The availability of the longer acting opioid antagonist nalmefene has several potential benefits in clinical practice. Nalmefene has a plasma half-life of almost 11 h, compared to 60–90 min for naloxone. Nalmefene has been shown to reverse opioid intoxication for as long as 8 h, reducing the need for continuous monitoring of intoxicated patients and repeated dosing of naloxone. Single dose administration has also been used effectively in the reversal of opiate-assisted conscious sedation. In addition, this agent has been used in the treatment of diseases as diverse as interstitial cystitis and chronic alcohol dependence. However, the long duration of action enables extended withdrawal reactions in the chronically opioid-dependent patient. The prolonged opioid antagonism of nalmefene has several applications in the clinical practice of emergency medicine, and is a useful addition in certain situations to the pharmacologic armamentarium of the practicing emergency physician.

Medical ClassicsRupert waterhouse and carl friderichsen: adrenal apoplexy☆

AbstractThe Waterhouse-Friderichsen (WFS) syndrome, also known as purpura fulminans, is described as acute hemorrhagic necrosis of the adrenal glands and is most often caused by meningococcal infection. This clinical entity is more frequently seen in the pediatric than the adult population and is associated with a high morbidity and mortality. The initial presenting complaints for patients with the WFS usually include a diversity of nonspecific, vague symptoms such as cough, dizziness, headache, sore throat, chills, rigors, weakness, malaise, restlessness, apprehension, myalgias, arthralgias, and fever. These symptoms are usually abrupt in their onset. Petechiae are present in approximately 50–60% of patients. The clinical diagnosis of WFS may be relatively straightforward or extremely challenging. Patients who appear in the initial and nontoxic-appearing stage without any skin lesions may be difficult to distinguish from a benign viral illness. When a patient presents with fever and petechiae, WFS must be considered, even when the patient has a non-toxic appearance. Due to the rapid progression and often devastating consequences, therapy should be instituted as soon as the diagnosis is suspected.

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