Core Cases in Critical Care S. Ridley, G. Smith, A. Batchelor (eds) Greenwich Medical Media: London, UK, 2003, 250 pp; indexed, illustrated ISBN: 1–84110–161–3; Price £29.50
There are now a significant number of books on the market that ‘aim to provide a springboard for members of the multidisciplinary critical care team to describe and discuss principles of integrative treatment’ through the use of case histories. When I was asked to review Core Cases in Critical Care, therefore, I took the view that it was going to bring something pretty special to the party before I could recommend it. And it does. Between them the trio of editors have produced a sizeable body of good research, and are well respected as intensivists, so expectations were high even before opening the book.
The 20 case histories, written by a similarly distinguished panel of contributors, describe reasonably standard scenarios: e.g. oliguria after a hip replacement, a 19-yr-old with acute severe asthma. However, the format of the subsequent case discussion – analysis of the problem, pathophysiology, therapeutic goals, therapeutic options, outcomes, key points and further reading – is exceptionally clear and informative, without being overly prescriptive. Moreover, the amount of information provided is of a volume and complexity ideally suited to the book's target audience: trainees in critical care medicine, nursing and allied health professions; the chapters on sepsis and multi-organ failure, management of metabolic coma, and transfer of critically ill patients are particularly admirable in this respect.
Core Cases in Critical Care is a welcome edition to the genre.
S. M. White