Description: One in a series of handbooks for general anesthesia practitioners, this book provides a basis for anesthetizing all types of neurosurgical patients. Although the focus is clearly on the practical, it includes extensive scientific background.
Purpose: The editors have set out to produce a book with the information necessary to anesthetize almost any neurosurgical patient in a busy clinical practice. This is indeed a worthy goal as many anesthesiologists and CRNAs provide care to brain/spine patients on an occasional basis. The book generally meets its goals, although there are some weaknesses.
Audience: This book successfully targets practitioners in a busy clinical practice. Anesthesia care providers can read a chapter that will help them in the OR. The editors offer praise for the authors, primarily junior clinicians, for their coverage of medical and surgical aspects of neurosurgical patients. Perhaps they are most adept at recognizing the needs of the occasional neuroanesthetist.
Features: The foreword is a wonderful review of the history and political development of the subspecialty of neuroanesthesia by Maurice Albin, who is recognized as the leader of the first generation of neuroanesthesiologists. The foreword alone is so good that the rest of the book is gravy. Most of the chapters deal with a single type of procedure/lesion, and generally they are easy to read and follow. Many have "recipes" that seem reasonable and will help with preparation. Other chapters address some basic science, such as cerebral blood flow, coma, and brain death to round out the book. Each chapter has many references, some of which are printed in red; nonetheless many of are somewhat out of date for a book with a 2013 copyright (e.g. ASA guideline on the prevention of visual loss of 2006 rather than 2012).
Assessment: This is one of two available handbooks in the subspecialty. Handbook of Neuroanesthesia, 5th edition, Newfield and Cottrell (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012), has been the standard for decades and is a great book for trainees to read and master during their neuroanesthesia rotation. This handbook, on the other hand, is ideal for practicing clinicians. It is succinct and can be helpful in preparing for the occasional neurosurgical case.