Textbook of Obstetric Anesthesia. R. Collis, F. Plaat, J. Urquhart (eds) Greenwich Medical Media: London, UK, 2003, 338 pp; indexed, illustrated ISBN: 1-90015-177-4; Price £45.00
This book is edited by three well-known English obstetric anaesthetists aided by 17 contributors. Set out with well-organized chapters, the text is easy to read and presents a comprehensive overview of obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia in an ‘easygoing’ form.
The book may be divided into three sections. The first section deals with the history of obstetric analgesia and anaesthesia, then goes on to describe maternal physiology, audit problems, non-regional and regional analgesia for labour and anaesthesia for Caesarean section. The second section includes anaesthesia for the distressed fetus, intra-partum fetal monitoring, the parturient with cardiac, respiratory, and neurological diseases and concludes with a chapter on pre-eclampsia. The third section deals with intensive care, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, amniotic fluid embolism, anaesthesia during pregnancy and midwifery education.
Although the majority of chapters contained in the first section of the book are considered indispensable to safe practice, they are rather brief and poorly described. Given the importance of the topics, the chapters should be more informative and deserve to be expanded with additional detailed information. Two of the chapters I did enjoy in this section were those concerning Ambulatory Analgesia in Labor and Audit in Obstetric Anaesthesia. The former is very welcome and comprehensive, whilst the latter is new and interesting, especially for those not familiar with this topic.
The second section of the book is treated more extensively, is well written and appropriately detailed.
Likewise the third section: the chapter on amniotic fluid embolism is excellent, interesting and very informative and contains enough information to merit a place in a standard textbook of practice rather than a general textbook.
It may be noted that this book reflects mostly UK practice, which may be considered a limitation of this book when read by non-UK practitioners. The overall impression, however, is that of a clear, helpful book.