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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Gita Rupani, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This pocket-sized handbook is an easily accessible and accurate source of information for practicing anesthesiologists, anesthesia residents, nurse anesthetists, student nurse anesthetists, anesthesia assistants, medical and surgical residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others involved in the perioperative care of patients. The previous edition was published in 2007.
Purpose: Intended to reflect the clinical practice and procedures followed in the department of anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital, it is updated regularly by residents, fellows, and staff of that department. It is an excellent book to augment experienced clinical teaching and inspire more detailed study, as suggested by the authors.
Audience: The handbook serves its wide audience well. I have always enjoyed referring to it for a quick consult and sometimes to look up the pharmacology of infrequently used drugs. One can always find a fast, short answer and later look up references for more detailed information.
Features: It is divided into three sections: preoperative evaluation and concerns in patients with vital organ system disease; intraoperative concerns such as anesthesia machine monitoring, line placement techniques, and anesthesia for variety of surgical procedures, including offsite procedures; and the perioperative issues of pain management and critical care, including ethical and end-of-life issues. The front and back cover contain recommendations for pre-anesthesia checkout, malignant hyperthermia tips, current supplemental drug information, and an alphabetized antibiotic information page. Important information on herbal therapy is covered in the alternative therapy section. As the authors point out, detailed information is not included in this compact book. Thus, it needs to be used with this limitation in mind. The pain management section includes peripheral nerve catheters, and PCA orders may need some more revision in the next edition.
Assessment: There are several other handbooks and small versions of anesthesia books that are useful. This one is attractive due to its small size, current and practical information, and good references. I also appreciate the attention to minor details in the sections on procedures and preparation of anesthesia. Overall, it is a handy manual, a good pocket reference that can be useful to all individuals involved in perioperative care of patients.