Book, Multimedia, and Meeting Reviews: Media Reviews
Civetta, Taylor, and Kirby's Critical Care, 4th ed.
Andrea Gabrielli, A. Joseph Layon, Mihae Yu, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. ISBN 10: 0-7817-6869-1, ISBN 13: 978-0-7817-6869-6. 2765 pages, $249.00.
It has been 12 years since the last edition of Civetta's Critical Care was released, and critical care has changed greatly during this period of time. This long-awaited 4th edition of Critical Care addresses many of the important changes in critical care medicine that have occurred during the last decade. Originally published in 1988, this comprehensive multiauthored text is best suited for the critical care practitioner and trainees. The material in this text draws on the expertise of its numerous authors, and each section is thoroughly researched and extensively referenced to provide the reader with an up-to-date understanding of the current issues in critical care medicine.
This book is organized into 20 sections containing a total of 178 chapters. The overall organization of the book has been modified and 3 new sections have been added since the last edition. In the previous edition of this textbook, chapters describing different shock states were scattered through the various sections on organ systems. The 4th edition creates a new section on shock states and collates the information on various shock states under one heading, consistent with contemporary approaches to the critically ill patient. A similar but slightly less effective effort has been made in the creation of the new section entitled Pharmacology, Nutrition, Toxicology, and the Environment in which “orphan” topics have been gathered under a catchall heading. The last new section, Specialized Management Issues: Disaster Management, contains a series of new chapters dealing with the topics of mass casualty, triage, and bioterrorism, which has clearly gained new relevance since the publication of the last edition. These new chapters serve as excellent primers to these fledgling topics.
In addition to the new chapters associated with the section on disaster management, new chapters address other important changes in the practice of critical care medicine over the past decade, including the changing attitudes toward quality and safety, as well as the economic issues in providing critical care. Although the chapter on radiologic evaluation has been expanded to include ultrasound, there is minimal new content regarding the use of ultrasonic techniques.
With the advent of the information age since the last edition was published, the new edition of this textbook comes with a subscription to an online version of the book. The online content is a verbatim copy of the material, which adds to the portability of the text, but provides no real “value-added” content. The search function available through the website appears to be based on simple word finding, and rarely guides the user to the most relevant information. The table of contents and index are more useful when searching for specific material. A more intuitive search function would exponentially boost the user's experience with the online version of the textbook.
A noteworthy asset of the latest version of this text is the exceptional quality of the photographs and figures. Every chapter in the book is supplemented with numerous high-quality visual images. The clarity of the photographic material is superb and is readily apparent from examining the details in the radiographs. The high quality of the visual representations of the subject matter adds significantly to the overall readability of the text.
In summary, this textbook provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of critical care medicine. It provides a strong foundation in the core critical care topics, while also retaining an awareness of the changing nature of the field. This textbook is an excellent study guide for the intensivist in training and a useful reference resource for the seasoned intensivist.
Mark Romig, MD
Todd Dorman, MD, FCCM
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine