Short Practice of Anaesthesia M. Morgan and G. Hall (eds). Chapman & Hall Medical, London, 1998. Price 00.00, pp. 831.
The purpose of this Short Practice was to present the 'core knowledge of anaesthesia required by trainees in the UK' in a brief guide to current practice. For this reason much useless information has been avoided including extended references, which often evidence the erudition of the authors, but risk being very cumbersome for trainees and the busy practitioner.
The editors have imposed on the 61 contributors, who are largely from the British school of anaesthesia, a concise style and provide further reading rather than lists of references.
This textbook is divided into four unequal parts and 46 chapters, each dedicated to a special subject. A list of abbreviations and an extended index help the reader to elucidate the text and to find the required subject.
In part one, equipment, anaesthetic machines, the principles of monitoring, ventilators for anaesthetic use, breathing systems, airway management and pollution and toxicity of inhalational agents are presented.
All the chapters are well illustrated and can be followed easily.
In part two, preoperative assessment, is a compendium on risk evaluation, scoring systems, premedication, preoperative tests and inherited diseases. Current opinions in this field are presented. A rational approach to safe practice and to cost-benefit is discussed.
Part three is dedicated to subspecialties, including 26 of the main fields of anaesthetic practice, grouped according to the surgery - thoracic, cardiac, vascular, neurosurgical, hepatobiliary, etc; the age of the patient; the preanaesthetic diseases - diabetes, infections and also the special anaesthetic situations - day-case surgery, radiology, etc.
In this chapter, the particular problems arising in all the subspecialties are presented, discussed and suggestions are made for the management and treatment.
Part four includes special situations: recovery room, pain control, awareness, difficult airway, fluid therapy, haemorrhage, head injury, but also anaphylaxis, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and brain death.
In a textbook dedicated to the trainee, there are some surprising omissions such as a short review on physics and on pharmacodynamics of drugs in anaesthetic practice. Maybe some chapters should be changed from one section to another.
One may consider that the objectives fixed by the editors have been realized because Short Practice of Anaesthesia is a practical guide to clinical anaesthesia, rather than a detailed review of specific subjects.
This textbook is very useful for the trainee and the standard practitioner and should not be omitted from their own book collections.