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From The CriticsReviewer: David J. Dries, MD (University of Minnesota Medical School)
Description: This is the third edition of a hardbound text of multidisciplinary critical care and the second edition of its companion softbound handbook.
Purpose: This successful book has been rewritten, increasing the emphasis on decision making and other recent changes in healthcare. The softbound handbook is intended as a clinical tool.
Audience: Practitioners and students of critical care are an appropriate audience for this pair of works. Although authors are in large part from the southeast United States, many authorities in various aspects of critical care are included.
Features: The hardbound book's 2,300 pages are divided into 156 chapters and one appendix. Content is organized in sections beginning with considerations in decision making and outcome assessment followed by physiology of essential organ systems; immune response to critical illness; considerations in organ specific support; monitoring; and specific problems of transplant, surgical, and gynecologic patients. Clinical problems that cross the spectrum of critical illness are also presented, such as cardiac and pulmonary dysfunction, neurologic failure, gastrointestinal and renal disease, and hematologic considerations. Chapters begin with a summary of critical points to be covered. The reference list in each chapter is generous and dates to within two years of publication. Black-and-white illustrations, x-rays, and photographs are of adequate quality. The table of contents provides chapter organization, and the detailed index includes separate citations for tables and figures. The handbook contains summaries of manuscripts from the parent text. Chapter organization is similar to the parent text but does not directly correspond. Figures are infrequent, tables plentiful, and references absent. Much of the material is presented in sentence outline form.
Assessment: Critical Care and The Handbook of Critical Care remain a leading resource to the practitioner. An attractive feature of the new hardbound text is several chapters devoted to outcome analysis and decision making. Clearly, these works have been revised and updated from previous editions. With extensive revision and reorganization, however, comes redundancy and inadvertent separation of related topics. Addressing these problems may be the challenge for subsequent editions.