Book, Multimedia, and Meeting Reviews: Media Reviews
As anesthesiologists' bookshelves become more crowded with echocardiography texts, it is important for potential buyers to identify the specific purpose that any new textbook will serve. Some books are meant to function as a comprehensive reference text and typically sit on a shelf until the need to answer a specific question arises. Other books provide a basic roadmap for trainees and are typically read cover to cover during their postgraduate training period. In this respect, the Clinical Manual and Review of Transesophageal Echocardiography, second edition, falls a bit in the middle. With 27 chapters and more than 600 pages, this book covers a wide array of topics and is more comprehensive than an introductory text. At the same time, the writing style is succinct and delivers a “right-to-the-point” message not typical of large reference works. In the opinion of this reviewer, this book would serve as an excellent source of up-to-date clinical information on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for trainees and more experienced anesthesiologists preparing for board examinations in both basic and advanced perioperative echocardiography.
This second edition of the Clinical Manual and Review of Transesophageal Echocardiography is significantly expanded from the first edition published in 2005, with the addition of 8 new chapters and approximately 50% more pages. The increase in size is partially accounted for by the increased use of figures and illustrations, which are generally very well done. New chapters covering epiaortic, epicardial, and 3-dimensional ultrasound highlight the additional material. However, in keeping with the book's concise style, the material serves more to familiarize (or refresh) the reader with the basic concepts of TEE rather than provide extensive background material on the topic or a detailed “step-by-step” guide to using TEE in clinical practice. Potential buyers should keep this in mind to avoid being disappointed. Of course, this book is not meant to sit idly on the shelf as a reference, but rather to be used in an “interactive” manner.
Interactive use for board examination review implies practice questions, and this book provides plenty of them. Readers of the first edition will be familiar with the numerous multiple-choice questions (up to 70) after almost every chapter. By and large, the questions are well written, with a wide range of difficulty. Some answers contain extensive explanations in the back of the book, detailing important calculation steps. Unfortunately, these extended explanations are not provided for every question, and the reader is left to wonder why certain answers are incorrect. Owners of the first edition should also be aware that a fair number of questions have been repeated in the second edition.
If studying practice questions in preparation for a board examination is one of the primary reasons for purchasing this text, then the CD-ROM that is provided with the book is a definite highlight and unique feature of this TEE book. It contains both “written” and “practical” multiple-choice tests that both can be taken as a timed, simulated board examination. I was particularly impressed with the “practical” portion that includes actual video clips that play as an integrated part of the question screen. Both sections can also be taken at a more leisurely pace with full explanations for incorrect answers.
All in all, the second edition of the Clinical Manual and Review of Transesophageal Echocardiography is a very solid entry into what I would consider the “board preparation” category of echocardiography textbooks. The chapters are concise and well illustrated, and most have an extensive number of questions that allow readers to identify topics that they may need to review in greater depth. With expert contributing authors and sound editing, the second edition of this book would be a valuable addition to the library of anesthesiologists interested in a text covering the breadth of topics related to perioperative echocardiography.
Roman M. Sniecinski, MD
Department of Anesthesiology
Emory University School of Medicine