T Hooper, J Nickells, S Payne, A Pearson & B Walton, Scion Publishing Limited; 2015, ISBN: 978-1-907904-33-2, Price: £35 (€45)
Graphic Anaesthesia is a first edition textbook, written by a team of UK based anaesthetists, intensivists and senior anaesthetic trainees. The authors’ vision for this textbook is for it to serve as an overview of the fundamental principles of anaesthesia in brief, clear and simplified format. The book focuses on those preparing for examinations but could easily meet the needs of more senior experienced anaesthetists as a useful aide memoire. Admittedly there are similar established revision textbooks available but Graphic Anaesthesia cleverly pools together diagrams, tables and equations pertinent to anaesthesia in a well-structured and conspicuous fashion. Topics within the text have been selected by the authors to ensure a comprehensive array of subjects have been covered. It is stated that the original artwork has been provided by one of the authors, making it clear to a reader that this resource is innovative, refreshing and original.
The book is assembled in easy to follow colour-coded sections covering eight key components to mirror the anaesthetic curriculum: physiology, anatomy, pharmacodynamics, kinetics and drugs, physics, clinical measurement, statistics and equipment. This lends itself as a handy tool for viva practice or focusing revision on areas requiring further attention. A ‘one topic per page’ format allows for almost 250 topics to be covered, each page opening with a diagram, table, equation or graphs that have been drawn for a rapid review and assimilation. The diagrams are supported with brief explanations that primarily focus on the basic science element of the topic and, where necessary, references are made to clinical application, such as the description of lasers and their medical use in several surgical specialties.
The anatomy section of the textbook is succinct, clear and drawn with the anaesthetist and not the surgeon in mind. Diagrams included are far removed from the complex variations found in many medical anatomy textbooks. Most diagrams are simplified cross-sections, annotated with key landmarks or abstract outlines of organ systems. Whilst this is in keeping with the character of the textbook, for some readers this may be a little too basic, particularly for those who may require a deeper level of understanding for the practice of regional anaesthetic techniques. Where diagrams are not possible due to the complexity of the topic matter, the authors have opted to present the key information in a memorable tabulated format. I expect many readers will welcome the summarised table on cranial nerves or the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis with all the relevant hormones and effects of deficiency or over activity.
Summarised subjects are well cross-referenced throughout the book which allows the reader to connect and expand on knowledge, for example the ion channel page and its referencing to local anaesthetics mode of action section. Having not long ago prepared for examinations, this is a welcome feature as I was accustomed to the frustrations of having to search indices of many textbooks only to discover some topics are not included. In summary, Graphic Anaesthesia is an excellent revision tool that allows trainees approaching exams to prepare in an efficient and simple format. It is a refreshing and unique resource that should be included on any essential revision reading list.
Dr Ziad Alrifai
Specialty Registrar in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine
East Midlands School of Anaesthesia