Description: This is a four-volume collection of critical care topics organized alphabetically.
Purpose: It provides an overview of intensive care unit practice.
Audience: Intensivists at all levels are an appropriate audience. Entries are provided by an international group of authors with editors from both sides of the Atlantic.
Features: Entries in this 2,500-page work run three to 20 pages. Where cross-referencing is possible, readers are redirected to another topic for relevant information. Major topics include color photographs, which reproduce well. Tables and line drawings are also used. Where topics are discussed at greater length, references are provided, and citations come from original literature and date to within two to three years of publication. Authorship is acknowledged with each presentation. There is no table of contents or index.
Assessment: This is a unique and important contribution to the field and readers seeking a focused presentation will find it useful. It is important to note that the topics are generally not covered in the depth available in a standard textbook. Subsequent editions could be improved with a detailed index to summarize cross-referencing and reduce duplication between presentations the various citations for airway interventions and mechanical ventilation are an example of this problem. Also, a more effective display of information can be found in another multivolume work, Grabb's Encyclopedia of Flaps, 3rd edition, Strauch et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). I look forward to further editions of this ICU encyclopedia.