P. Warman, D. Conn, B. Nicholls and D. Wilkinson.
Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2014
pp 576; £44.99 (∼€62, ∼US$66)
In its preface, this book sets out its purpose: to provide clinicians with an easy access to the art and science of regional anaesthetic techniques. It far surpasses this goal, providing not only a functional but also an entertaining and interesting page-turner for the regional enthusiast.
Why is this book different? Well, it is one of the few texts to include detailed information about landmark, nerve-stimulator guided and ultrasound-guided approaches. This makes it uniquely relevant to all those who practice regional anaesthesia, and could potentially encourage some to put down the nerve stimulator and pick up the ultrasound probe. However, this book has far more to offer than simply being a list of nerves and blocks. It contains a wealth of relevant and current information about the conduct of regional anaesthesia, which has been collated and presented succinctly in the familiar Oxford Handbook ‘style’. The first part considers generic aspects of regional anaesthesia. We are educated in its history, reminded about local anaesthetics and their problems and given advice about everything from how to position and care for awake but insensate patients, to tips about how to see your needle and your target in the same ultrasound plane. Moreover, it is meticulously referenced to facilitate further reading and acknowledge the incorporation of the latest guidelines. All of this is contained within one pocket-sized resource.
The book also neatly covers most, if not all, of the topics contained within the syllabus for the European Diploma in Regional Anaesthesia (EDRA). As such, it would make an excellent starting point for those preparing for this examination. What isn’t there? Surprisingly there is no mention of the new serratus anterior plane block or the more established PEC I and PEC II blocks. Otherwise, it is comprehensive. There aren’t sequential ultrasound images, but nor should there be – that would be beyond the scope of this book. The annotation of the ultrasound images can be complex in some parts. This probably represents the intrinsic problem a small-form book faces when it needs to display these images.
Overall, this is a comprehensive guide and an essential read for any regional anaesthesia enthusiast. Written by leading experts in current-day practice, it is relevant, up to date and practical. I would highly recommend this book as an addition to your personal or departmental bookshelf.
Specialty Registrar in Anaesthesia
University Hospitals of Leicester