Oxford Handbook of Critical Care for PDAs

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care for PDAs

British Journal of Anaesthesia 99 (1): 148–9 (2007) Book Reviews Anesthesia for Genetic, Metabolic and Dysmorphic Syndromes of Childhood, 2nd Edn. V...

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British Journal of Anaesthesia 99 (1): 148–9 (2007)

Book Reviews Anesthesia for Genetic, Metabolic and Dysmorphic Syndromes of Childhood, 2nd Edn. V. C. Baum and J. E. O’Flaherty. Published by Lippincott Williams & Wikins, Philadelphia, USA. Pp. 415; illustrated. Price £76.00, US$ 149.00. ISBN 978-0-7817-7938-8.

I. Barker Sheffield, UK E-mail: [email protected] doi:10.1093/bja/aem156

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care for PDAs, 2nd Edn. A. R. Webb and M. Singer (editors). Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Price £25.50. ISBN 0-19-920586-3-8. The high quality Oxford Handbook series is popular and well known. Perhaps the only drawback of these handbooks is their relatively large size. They require large pockets! This version of the Oxford Handbook of Critical Care is suitable for PDAs and Pocket PCs and offers a lightweight, portable version of this reference tool. The product is presented on a CD. Getting started was easy. Installation was straightforward and explained step by step. Internet access was required for registration which gives access to updates. Much of the text of the electronic version is taken from that of the paper version of the book, but the content has been somewhat re-organized and some new chapter headings added. These changes are on the whole logical improvements. For example, brainstem death is covered as a topic under miscellaneous disorders in the Handbook version, whereas in the electronic edition it is included in a chapter that also deals with organ donation. Additional

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This reference text of some 400 pages has only two authors, both from the USA, both Professors of Anaesthesiology and Paediatrics. In the preface, they state that they have not aimed the book for anaesthesiologists who practice in large paediatric centres—well, it does not read like that. Certainly, in UK tertiary practice this is a most useful book. As they state, it is not a textbook of paediatric anaesthesia, it assumes competence, perhaps expertise and informs appropriately. The layout of the book is original. It starts with a ‘how to use’ section explaining the standard, logical format of each of the syndromes explained. This is followed by a glossary of terms and then into the text of the book. Almost every syndrome a paediatric anaesthetist might encounter is here, listed alphabetically with alternative names cross-referenced. An index would be as superfluous as an index in a telephone directory, there is none. The book ends with several appendices reminding you of those metabolic pathways that have just slipped your mind. Each syndrome follows a standard layout of name, synonyms, and reference number to McKusick’s text ‘Mendelian Inheritance in Man’ (in case you wish to read in more depth). A physiologically systematic description of the syndrome then follows in which I learned a new acronym: ‘HEENT’ apparently American for ‘Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat’. Next are comprehensive anaesthetic considerations and finally an anaesthetically relevant, up to date bibliography. In reviewing this book, it seemed illogical to read it from cover to cover and so I used it as a reference for cases which presented during the working week. Down Syndrome as ever was referred to early on, during the next few days I visited Charcot Marie Tooth, Edwards, Duchenne, Neurofibromatosis, Pierre Robin Syndrome, and G6PD deficiency. I tried to find West Syndrome—it is not there (no book can be 100% comprehensive!). I then randomly dipped into the book to look at other syndromes. Apart from finding Dr West (who died in 1848), I was never disappointed, this book is a practical reference work written for the anaesthetist, the anato-physiological descriptions are directly relevant to anaesthesia, the anaesthetic considerations are practical, didactic, and so far in my experience correct. It is reassuring to find some syndromes with ‘no specific anaesthetic concerns’ stated.

This is an excellent reference book which should certainly be in every paediatric anaesthetic department, probably every anaesthetic department where children may be encountered and it is very likely to find its way into the personal library of many specialist paediatric anaesthetists. The book’s major strengths are its thoroughness and its direct anaesthetic focus. Its major competition must come from the Internet. It is very easy to put the name of a syndrome into Google or Wikipedia and come up with a list of references. The reader then has to distil out the relevant anaesthetic information and make a judgement on its reliability. This book has done that already and its broadband connection does not fail when most needed. Most textbooks I am invited to review are donated to the departmental library, one or two stay on my own shelves, this one, and only this one, will stay securely locked in my desk so that I know where to find it. Colleagues can buy their own!

Book Reviews

The content itself is of high quality. We examined the material presented on sepsis as an example. The topic is thoroughly covered and the key trials discussed. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines are reproduced and their application discussed. Less common conditions are equally well covered. Each section is appropriately referenced with the key trials and papers. This is a comprehensive critical care manual, but it is compact, easy to carry around and not exposed to the same wear and tear as the paper version. It is must for any ITU novice and will be of value to the more experienced.


M. van Greunen and S. Howell Leeds, UK E-mail: [email protected] doi:10.1093/bja/aem161

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chapters, for example, pain and postoperative intensive care, make the PDA version a daily guide for the intensive care doctor and others not familiar with postoperative care. The PDA version is very easy to use and anybody who has used a web browser will find it intuitive. There are two options for the ‘front end’ of the Handbook seen on the PDA when the software is opened. One can view the main index or an electronic table of contents with active links to the individual chapters and subheadings within chapters. Chapters follow a consistent structure that includes sections on therapy, monitoring, dugs, and disorders making it easy to navigate to a specific topic. There are separate chapters on problems that occur frequently in the critical care setting for example, poisoning, infection, trauma, and burns. Searching either the index or the table of contents of these is easy and is not as cumbersome as paging through the paper version.