Oxford Handbook of Anaesthesia
K. G. Allman and I. H. Wilson
Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2000, 1139 pp; indexed, illustrated
ISBN: 0-19-263273-6; Price £19.95 (Paperback)
This is another textbook in the popular 'Oxford Handbook' series. The authors sensibly have aimed it at a wide anaesthetic audience and come up with a comprehensive contemporary guide to good anaesthetic practice. In 1139 pages it squeezes in a wide range of topics from the usual 'how to do' to some welcome, interesting, general considerations such as consent, when to operate and even guidance on anaesthetizing patients with body-piercing jewellery!
In the chapters devoted to usual anaesthetic practice there is useful practical information on the surgical procedure, on positioning the patient and on estimated surgical time. I approve of this approach, as it encourages trainees and others to think further than the induction of anaesthesia and consider the surgery itself. In a book of this size, topics must be brief, but the authors seem to cover the salient points and most are referenced. There are the usual emergency algorithms inside the covers. However, I would expect these to be available on all anaesthetic machines. The book has a useful formulary and a clear, but brief, section on regional anaesthesia with clear diagrams.
Overall the Oxford Handbook of Anaesthesia has a logical layout and represents modern anaesthesia. It is a good reflection on its multiple authors. It is not a pocket book, but could be easily carried around and would be a useful purchase for any practising anaesthetist. However, I think any departmental copies would be lost fairly quickly given their intended use and size.