Book and Multimedia Reviews: Media Review
Transfusion Therapy: Clinical Principles and Practice, 2nd ed. Mintz PD, ed. Bethesda, MD: AABB Press, 2005. ISBN 1-56395-185-1. 716 pages, $139.
The primary goal of both the first and second editions of Transfusion Therapy: Clinical Principles and Practice is to provide assistance to clinicians who need to decide whether to transfuse blood or to determine who is responsible for the care of patients who develop adverse events resulting from transfusions. The book is intended to fill the niche between larger compendia and the handbooks that are already available. With this edition five additional chapters have been added, yet the book remains small enough to be easily carried.
Overall the book is well written and engaging, but it appears to be especially targeted to the blood banker community and hematologists. Having said this, there are multiple parts of the book that have information that is useful to an anesthesiologist, especially since the emphasis of the textbook is on clinical practice with the chapters being placed in sections. The first section of the book is devoted to clinical situations, followed by adverse events, and subsequently quality, with a final chapter on the risks and benefits of transfusion therapy. This review will concentrate on the chapters that would be most interesting to anesthesiologists.
The first section on clinical situations starts with a chapter on component therapy before bedside procedures that is especially well written and that documents the futility of component transfusion prior to bedside procedures to correct laboratory test values. The next chapters on autoimmune hemolytic anemia, congenital hemolytic anemias, and congenital coagulopathies are well written but provide more information then would be needed to care for a patient with these disorders in the operating room or intensive care unit if a competent hematologist is available for consultation. In contrast, an anesthesiologist would find reading the chapters on treatment of acquired disorders of hemostasis; transfusion in surgery, trauma and critical care; intrauterine neonatal and pediatric transfusion; alternatives to allogeneic transfusion in patients with surgical anemia; and management of transfusion reactions very informative and applicable to an anesthesiologist’s practice, as are the chapters on red blood cell therapy in anemia and platelet transfusion. The final chapter entitled “To Transfuse or Not Transfuse: An Assessment of Risks and Benefits” provides an outstanding summation of these issues.
In summary, this is a book that would be a wonderful addition to the library of an anesthesiologist with an interest in blood banking or membership on his or her hospital’s transfusion committee.