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Book review

Anesthesia for Genetic, Metabolic and Dysmorphic Syndromes of Childhood, 3rd edn.

Author Information
European Journal of Anaesthesiology (EJA): April 2015 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 286
doi: 10.1097/EJA.0000000000000245
  • Free

Victor C. Baum, Jennifer E. O’Flaherty,

Philadelphia, USA: Wolters Kluwer, 2015

Price £151 (∼€181), 495pp; ISBN-13: 978-1-4511-9279-7

This is the third edition of the successful, quick reference textbook written by two US paediatric anaesthesiologists. The original concept was to provide a practical approach to the anaesthetic management of recognised syndromes for ‘anesthesiologists who do not practice in large pediatric centers’.

The text provides a structured summary of all the potential manifestations of a syndrome and the associated anaesthetic implications. Importantly, syndromes where no anaesthetic difficulties are anticipated are also included, providing reassurance to the anaesthetist. This book is not intended to aid the diagnosis of genetic disorders, nor to dictate the anaesthetic technique used. The authors do, however, report successful techniques which have been used to overcome specific problems. The content has been updated to reflect the ever-advancing understanding of genetic mechanisms, and to include newly identified syndromes. The book now includes well over 500 syndromes, both common and rare.

The book is presented in an easy to use encyclopedic style, with syndromes starting with numerals listed first, followed by named syndromes in alphabetical order. Each entry conforms to a uniform format, beginning with alternative synonyms and McKusick's Mendelian Inheritance in Man referencing, followed by a system-based approach. Anaesthetic considerations are listed, together with an up-to-date bibliography. References dating before 1990 have been replaced with more recent literature. A glossary of signs and symptoms precedes the main reference text and significant metabolic pathways are summarised at the end. Previous editions have been criticised for the omission of an index; however, with the clearly alphabetic format I do not think this is necessary. Where synonyms exist, syndromes are presented under their commonest name, and simply cross-referenced.

In reviewing this text, I considered a number of syndromes I have recently encountered and evaluated the information presented. I found the main strength of this book is that it is written with the anaesthetic implications in mind, rather than having to decipher those from a mass of interesting, but perhaps inconsequential information. There are some quirky and entertaining facts listed under the miscellaneous headings, often relating to the history of the name of the syndrome, which add to the enjoyment of the text. I was unaware that ‘Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a disease of Aleutian mink, Hereford cattle, killer whales, cats, beige mice, and human!

Theoretically, one of the main advances of this edition is the complimentary eBook access, although sadly the link is not yet active. The publishers state this will allow complete content access offline together with search tools, the ability to highlight key content and make additional notes. The size and weight of the hardback book lends itself as an office-based resource, so the option for electronic device access is attractive for point of care use.

In summary, this book is a valuable resource and would make a useful addition to any anaesthetic department library because of the quality of concise and clinically relevant information presented. Its target readership goes far beyond the ‘occasional paediatric anaesthetist’. Whilst primarily focussed on paediatric anaesthesia, many children with complex syndromes are now surviving into adulthood and requiring anaesthesia outside of paediatric centres. Where possible, the authors have included relevant discussion of these syndromes in adulthood, providing a solid starting point when presented with such a case. I only wish I had owned a copy of this book at the start of my Fellowship year.

Dr Joy Abbott

Clinical Fellow in Paediatric Anaesthesia

Birmingham Children's Hospital

© 2015 European Society of Anaesthesiology