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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This handbook describes complications related to anesthesia and complications that may occur in the perioperative period. Wherever possible, the mechanism or complication is presented along with suggestions for how to prevent it. The abridged nature of the book makes it a useful companion.
Purpose: The purpose is to familiarize anesthesiologists with common and uncommon complications that arise out of the perioperative anesthetic care of patients. The care of patients has become so safe and accidents have become so uncommon that many physicians are poorly informed about them and even more poorly prepared to manage them. This book bridges this gap.
Audience: The book is directed at trainee anesthesiologists, but the breadth of information it covers makes it useful for even experienced anesthesiologists. It is written by experienced physicians well-versed in the management of these complications.
Features: The first section has three chapters that discuss the science of error making, the principles of managing complications, and ways to prevent them. The next section, and the main body of the book, has 16 chapters that cover all organ systems, including the airway, procedure-related complications, transfusion-related issues, and drug-related complications. It reviews both common and uncommon life-threatening complications related to the different organ systems, noting the scope or incidence of each problem, its underlying etiology, and ways to prevent it or how to manage it. The last section covers the medicolegal aspects of complications, reviewing the components of good consent, how to handle complications that do occur, and aspects of the law related to trials. The book is well written, discussing complications in a systematic fashion, covering mechanisms of injury and clear guidelines for prevention. Although this last section on the medicolegal aspects refers to the British legal system, it teaches principles of complication management not often taught during specialty training.
Assessment: It's hard not to appreciate such a fruitful effort. In anesthesia, there is lot of emphasis on good outcomes, hoping no one will end up with a bad outcome. But when a complication occurs, not everyone is well prepared to minimize the damage, as typical textbooks do not discuss the practical aspects of handling complications. By providing helpful and practical guidelines, this book attempts to fill that gap. Trainee anesthesiologists should buy this book — it will help them be better clinicians.