Critical Care Focus, 9: The Gut
Helen F. Galley (ed)
BMJ Books: London, UK, 2002, 92 pp; illustrated; indexed
ISBN: 0-7279-1679-3; Price £14.95
This volume deals with the interrelationship between critical illness and the gut, an organ system whose function is frequently deranged. The book begins with a well-written chapter on gut dysfunction and enteral feeding. A strong argument is presented for adopting feeding protocols on intensive care units. Diarrhoea, an important problem for intensive care patients, is discussed. Preventive and treatment strategies are suggested. There is interesting discussion about selective decontamination of the digestive tract, an intervention that has vociferous proponents and detractors. Overall, a balanced view is presented. Both ischaemia and reperfusion are described in the pathogenesis of gut injury. The reader is offered practical advice on the medical management of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The book concludes with a chapter on pancreatitis, which is of tremendous importance to intensivists. Diagnosis, local complications, inflammatory mediators and effects on other organs, such as the lungs, are discussed. Overall, the volume is a welcome addition to the series. The insights and practical suggestions provided throughout are particularly helpful.
M. S. Avidan