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The Year in Anaesthesia and Critical Care Volume 2

Price: £35

Source: Br J Anaesth 2008; 101(4): 580-2

Date received: 17/09/2008

This is the second volume in this series of yearbooks. The stated aim is to provide an overview of subjects of current clinical interest by providing an expert review of related recent publications. The book has been produced by four senior editors and with contributions from 23 experts, mainly from the UK but also from Europe and the USA.

The book is divided into four sections covering: Perioperative care, Clinical pharmacology, Monitoring and equipment, and Critical care. Each section has an overview of the subject written by one of the editors, followed by four topic reviews. The topic reviews are not in the classic narrative review format but, more usefully in my view, are structured round a number of related, recently published articles (2005–07). Each article is dealt with in a similar way with a brief background section followed by an interpretation (essentially a summary of the results), then a comment by the reviewer. This last section is, to me, the valuable part of this book as it puts the study into context. Authors of original articles will, naturally, have a positive view of the findings of their study. It is useful to have these findings put into context by a third party, and by that I mean that they are often supported in their conclusion.

The Perioperative care section starts with an overview on unsettled issues in perioperative care. The four topics covered in detail are: blood component therapy, respiratory care, cardioprotection, and outpatient anaesthesia.

The Clinical pharmacology section has an editorial on what is new in anaesthetic pharmacology, followed by: mechanisms of pain pharmacology, drug administration techniques, new reversal agents, and receptors in anaesthesia.

Monitoring and equipment has an editorial on new technology applied to anaesthesia and critical care followed by: equipment for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, computers in anaesthesia, simulation, and new intubation equipment.

Critical care has an editorial on vasopressin followed by: serious medical errors in the ICU, the surviving sepsis campaign, glycaemic control, and hypothermia after cardiac arrest.

Each of the topics addresses 12–20 recently published articles using the structure described above. The authors in their discussion cite related articles and provide a full reference list for each topic and provide a concluding overview of the subject at the end of the chapter. The choice of articles is comprehensive for each of the topics chosen and the quality of the assessment/commentary is uniformly high.

The two questions to be asked and answered in any book review are: is this book useful and who will find it useful?

In answer to the first, it is my opinion that this structure works well and provides the reader with a thorough update on current clinical topics by highlighting important recent publications and providing a commentary which helps to put them into context.

In answer to the second point, the broad range of subjects covered makes this relevant to most clinicians. In a foreword to the book, Sir Peter Simpson describes this book’s concept as one of book-based CME. This fits well with the idea of providing busy clinicians with a guided tour of recent publications on a specific subject by giving them the basics of the study, its results, and comment on the findings, thereby allowing them to draw conclusions on its value.

I think this book provides useful continuing education for clinicians established in practice and will also be of value to trainees preparing for professional examinations.

C. S. Reilly, Sheffield, UK

Source: Doody’s Book Reviews™ Doody Enterprises, Inc.

Date received: 11/08/2008

This is the second volume in a series that reviews the latest medical literature in the field of anesthesia and critical care.

Its aim is to provide an overview of the most recent articles on pertinent key issues in anesthesia and critical care. Maintaining up-to-date knowledge in this field is a challenge to the practicing anesthesiologist with the expansion of medical research. This book is excellent aid in this endeavor.

The book is intended for health professionals in the field of anesthesia and critical care. Practitioners at all levels of their careers, trainees and experienced anesthetists alike, will find it useful in enhancing their knowledge. Readers will benefit from the expertise of the authors.

The four parts cover perioperative care, clinical pharmacology, monitoring and equipment, and critical care. Within these areas, the authors have identified topics that represent the current focus of medical research. Articles reflecting the latest results of this research are reviewed, with a brief discussion of the background and the interpretation of each study, followed by commentary on its merits and implications. The authors should be credited for the excellent quality of their reviews and the choice of the publications. The selection of high-impact topics is a challenging endeavor in a field in which there is an abundance of investigations on a multitude of subjects. The editors have concentrated on providing in-depth discussions of select topics rather than a comprehensive subject collection.

This is an invaluable aid to anesthesia professionals in remaining current in their understanding of the specialty in the face of rapidly expanding medical knowledge. This book contributes to the improvement of the quality of anesthesia and critical care and patient safety.


Weighted Numerical Score: 91 - 4 Stars (Outstanding)

Zdravka Zafirova, MD University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

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