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Advanced Life Support Group. (£25). BMJ Books, 2001. ISBN 0-7279-1554-1
The Advanced Paediatric Life Support manual was born in the early 1990s. As with all new borns, it was difficult to tell how it would develop. However, its parents hoped that it would develop into a practical widely used entity. As a candidate on the first Manchester APLS course in 1992, the manual existed as a series of handouts from various paediatric specialists. Many met the aims of being practical, while others were too inclusive.
The Manchester APLS manual first spoke to the world in 1993. Its highly practical approach proved to be extremely popular. Therefore, building on the feedback from the Advanced Paediatric Life Support Courses the manual began to walk with the publication of its second edition in 1997.
The manual is now ready to start school and interact with other organisations. The 3rd edition has affiliations with the European Resuscitation Council, the Resuscitation Council of South Africa and Australian Advanced Paediatric Life Support Course. This latest edition has undergone some refinement. The initial two parts of the manual have had only minimal revision bringing them into line with current resuscitation practice and add further practical advice such as the use of semi-automatic defibrillators in children. The main revision has been in the seriously ill child section. Chapter headings have been changed to reflect the presenting problem of children. Layout and presentation of this section has changed dramatically.
The final sections on trauma and practical procedures have had only minimal alterations. It is noteworthy that with the affiliation to Australia, an additional appendix has been added dealing with envenomation.
In general terms this continues to be an excellent practical manual for resuscitation of children in the first hour. I have frequently been faced with junior doctors in the resuscitation room of our Children's Hospital with the APLS manual open correcting my actions!
There are some disappointments with the new text. As with a child starting school, there is an inordinate amount of spelling and grammatical errors contained within the new sections. While these seldom directly affect the understanding of the manual, they are extremely irritating. I have mixed feelings about the revision to the serious illness section. While there is much more information contained within the chapters compared with the 2nd edition, the revisions have made the chapters less easy to read and more like a standard textbook. There is also an excessive amount of repetition in each of the chapters.
However, these are minor quibbles in a text which has become the gold standard for paediatric resuscitation in the UK.
The strength of the APLS manual has been that it is available to buy without actually undertaking the course. It is also continually updated by feedback from individuals undertaking these courses. The manual will continue to grow and reflect changing patterns of care in paediatric emergencies. Long may it continue.