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A Practical Approach to Anesthesia Equipment

Brockwell, Russell C. MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e318222c373
Book, Multimedia, and Meeting Reviews: Media Reviews
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Anesthesia Associates of Naples, P.A. Physicians Regional Medical Centers Naples, Florida Russell.Brockwell@hma.com (Brockwell)

Understanding Anesthesia Equipment by Dorsch and Dorsch (now in its fifth edition) has long been considered the classic textbook on anesthesia equipment. Jerry and Susan Dorsch have prepared yet another important text, A Practical Approach to Anesthesia Equipment. In contrast to Understanding Anesthesia Equipment (which can be daunting for some clinicians because of its level of detail and the sheer volume of material covered in this comprehensive text), the new textbook is highly focused on practical and essential information every anesthesia practitioner needs to know to safely provide anesthesia care to their patients. Without trying to replace their original textbook, this new book provides the reader with up-to-date, accurate descriptions, diagrams, and clearly written explanations of many major types of anesthesia equipment. This new text is well organized, concisely written, and clinically relevant. Primarily targeted to trainees in anesthesia, and written largely from their perspective, this new text makes generous use of highlighted “Clinical Moments” that focus the reader's attention on specific details that are of particular importance, and have high practical value to the modern clinical practice of anesthesiology. Many, if not most, of these Clinical Moments represent the pearls that the Drs. Dorsch, Dorsch, and Gravlee have gleaned from their own many decades of practicing clinical anesthesiology.

After carefully selecting topics and materials that are highly relevant for practitioners of modern anesthesia, the editors have obviously spent many hours eliminating older material that over time has become primarily of historical and/or theoretical value. Despite its streamlined presentation, this text maintains a level of detail sufficient to develop an understanding of the operational principles of the anesthetic equipment frequently used in current anesthesia practice. Also notable in this text is the generous use of full-color diagrams, illustrations, and photographs that cover a wide range of new and older anesthesia workstation platforms. These graphics make it easy for trainees and experienced anesthesia professionals alike to develop a clear understanding of their particular equipment's operating principles, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.

Covering topics ranging from medical gas systems and the anesthesia workstation, to monitors, ultrasound devices, and contemporary difficult airway management equipment, the book provides readers with a broad range of topics, and includes clear explanations of how their equipment works, how it is best used, and also many of the hazards and pitfalls that may be associated with the use of such equipment. The emphasis on equipment safety, including preuse checkout procedures, environmental safety (electrical, fire, and other safety hazards), and personal workplace safety adds a unique aspect to this textbook.

Because many newer anesthesia workstations are capable of advanced intensive care unit–style ventilation modes, and often are now equipped with displays that show the anesthesia provider real-time spirometry data, the authors spend a good amount of time explaining the clinical utility of this newer ventilation technology. The chapter on airway volumes, flows, and pressures goes from equipment to analyzing the implications for individual patients. One of the longer chapters in the book, this chapter uses 45 separate illustrations to teach the importance of incorporating these data into the everyday clinical management of patients in the operating room and intensive care unit.

One interesting addition to this book is the rather extensive discussion of anesthesia equipment preuse checkout procedures. As many experienced anesthesia care providers are well aware, much of the equipment they trained with has now been replaced with more modern versions. As a result, the equipment preuse checkout procedures that they learned previously may have undergone changes and now vary widely to accommodate the introduction of new anesthesia machine technologies (including advanced ventilators and machine self-tests, among others). Preuse checkout procedures remain an essential topic for anesthesiologists to understand and this new book covers these procedures for both classic anesthesia machines and the contemporary machines. Additionally, the text also includes an insightful presentation of the 2008 American Society of Anesthesiologists' Guidelines for Preanesthesia Checkout that replaced the previous 1993 Checkout recommendations that many may have learned during their clinical training.

In summary, Jerry and Susan Dorsch have made a major contribution to the anesthesia literature with this important textbook that combines a large amount of material into a succinct, concise, easily readable compendium. The book is broad enough to cover the majority of frequently used anesthesia equipment, and yet goes into sufficient depth for the average reader to develop a solid understanding of these important topics. It is difficult to take complex equipment-related topics and present them in a way that makes them interesting and/or easy to read. Yet, these authors managed to achieve these goals in writing a text that maintains the reader's interest by using reasonably small chapters combined with a generous number of colored photographs and diagrams. This text is a “must read” for all trainees in anesthesiology, and will benefit more-experienced practitioners as a concise reference for their personal library.

Russell C. Brockwell, MD

Anesthesia Associates of Naples, P.A.

Physicians Regional Medical Centers

Naples, Florida

Russell.Brockwell@hma.com

© 2011 International Anesthesia Research Society