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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David J. Dries, MD (University of Minnesota Medical School)
Description: This is the Fourth Edition of a softbound pocket manual for critical care produced by a multidisciplinary group from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Purpose: In outline form, a physiologic approach to common critical care problems is presented.
Audience: Students, residents and senior trainees may benefit from this work, which comes from one of the leading medical schools in the United States.
Features: Forty-one chapters, two appendices and a subject index are included in a softbound pocket-sized handbook of approximately 850 pages. Opening chapters describe core principles of cardiopulmonary critical care followed by fluid and nutrition management, blood product use and resuscitation algorithms. Care of specific patient groups in the intensive care unit is described in the final two-thirds of chapters presented. Individuals with specific surgical problems including morbid obesity, obstetrics, burns and other trauma are discussed. Common medical problems such as coronary artery disease, venous thromboembolic disorders, gastrointestinal and endocrine problems are also reviewed. Concluding appendices provide drug information and standard laboratory values. Chapters are presented in outline form and make frequent use of tables and flow diagrams. A small reference list is provided at the conclusion of each chapter typically citing classic references from primary literature but more often important textbooks and websites. Presentations are terse and clear. Texture of type helps one to follow the outline and highlights important drugs and concepts.
Assessment: The Critical Care Handbook of the Massachusetts General Hospital (Fourth Edition) can be compared with many works of comparable price and size. I am attracted to this book because many of the chapters are written in part or completely by senior members of the nursing and medical staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Frequently, small manuals such as this are written by junior practitioners. This is a good pocket companion in the ICU.