The Anaesthesia Viva 2. Physics, Clinical Measurement and Safety,2nd edition
M. Blunt, J. Urquhart, C. Pinnock, I. Driver (eds)
Greenwich Medical Media: London, UK, 2003, 157 pp; indexed, illustrated
ISBN: 0-84110-103-6; Price £29.50
Having reviewed the Anaesthesia Viva 1 (same authors), I find myself in a similar predicament, namely my inability to remain objective concerning a title that all but guaranteed my success in primary and final FRCA. The fact that the first edition of The Anaesthesia Viva 2 was reprinted twice indicates to me that I am not alone in my wholehearted praise for this book.
Physics, clinical measurement and safety are core components of the FRCA examination syllabus, but the standard texts from which examination candidates are expected to learn these subjects are often imprecise, verbose and confusing, even to those with previous knowledge. These are not criticisms that can be directed at The Anaesthesia Viva 2. The book is extremely concise, well presented and readable. The second edition reflects changes in the examination syllabus. Many questions from the first edition remain, but others have been removed, or neatly re-edited. The section on anatomy has been excised completely, which accounts for the comparative brevity of the book compared to the first edition.
One oversight on the part of the publisher is the omission of 'and Clinical Anaesthesia' from the title as questions on clinical anaesthesia take up the second half of the book. Not that it matters - I would buy the book anyway for the physics, measurement and safety questions, and would consider the clinical anaesthesia questions a bonus.
The Anaesthesia Viva 2 is essential reading for all junior anaesthetists facing clinical examinations, and all senior anaesthetists charged with the task of administering practice vivas. You do not have to buy this book, of course, but you would be silly not to.
S. M. White