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A P Adams, J N Cashman, R M Grounds, editors. (Pp 308; £24.50). Greenwich Medical Media, London, 2003. ISBN 1-84110-1176
This is the 21st edition of this book spanning over 70 years of anaesthetic care. In this edition the title and contents have been changed to reflect the increasing importance of intensive care. The book is, of course, aimed principally at clinicians in anaesthesia and intensive care. The book covers in detail very specific but a wide ranging list of anaesthetic related topics. These include among others the pharmacology of COX2 inhibitors, neuropathic pain, education and training in anaesthesia, prone ventilation, and advances in resuscitation. The chapters are well written and are detailed reviews of the current literature relating to recent advances in each topic.
This is not a book that will be read from cover to cover by the emergency physician. The chapters are detailed and are not formatted in a manner that allows the casual browser to dip into them and glean relevant information. It would, however, be a useful reference source for clinicians looking for up to date reviews on specific subjects.
The chapters on asthma and recent advances in resuscitation are reasonable summaries of the current concepts and issues in these clinical areas and are pertinent to all individuals practising emergency medicine. Some of the non-clinical chapters such as those on education and training, managing medical mishaps, and the legal aspects of anaesthesia have generic information that is also of relevance to our specialty.
In summary, this is a book that should be available in every hospital library rather than in the emergency department book list.