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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This book deals with most of the practical matters of obstetric anesthesia in a clear and concise way. It is an outstanding resource for any anesthesiologist who wants to practice obstetric anesthesia based on scientific evidence rather than conventions.
Purpose: It is intended to address key questions and topics in obstetric anesthesia for which adequate medical evidence is available to formulate a scientific opinion in order to promote best practice. The book lives up to this lofty task in an excellent way.
Audience: The book is intended for physicians who practice obstetric anesthesia, both residents and attendings. It is a review of data as it pertains to different obstetrical anesthesia issues, done by very experienced people in the field, in a very thorough manner.
Features: The book covers different topics related to providing analgesia in normal labor and anesthesia for cesarean sections, and addresses common complications that are associated with regional anesthesia. In the section on labor analgesia, the book addresses such practical topics as the affect of an epidural on labor, the value of patient-controlled epidural analgesia, epidural catheter design, and the incidence of complications in the obstetric population getting epidurals for pain control. The second part of the book scrutinizes available evidence regarding the role of volume and vassopressors in management of hypotension after neuroaxial block. Finally, the book evaluates the evidence available regarding the safety of doing a neuroaxial procedure in a pregnant patient with low platelet count, the efficacy of different techniques in the management of postdural puncture headache and few other pertinent topics. The book is very well written. The topics are all very practical and relate to issues which one comes across in obstetric anesthesia on a daily basis. The topics are very well researched. The authors have done a splendid job by providing a take-home message at the end of every chapter. This really helps in providing the reader a clear and concise guideline for handling the issue in real life. The book as such is a great addition to the bulky texts available in the field of obstetric anesthesiology which at times fail to address the practical matters which one needs to know on a daily basis.
Assessment: The book is a quick read and is very unambiguous in discussing the topics. It's a must read for any residents or physicians who practice obstetric anesthesia. It provides a systematic review of different topics, every one of which is encountered on a daily basis by anesthesiologists. As explained by the authors, the book does not cover those topics for which they did not have enough information to provide the solid guidelines based on available data with confidence. There are quite a few books available in the field of obstetric anesthesia, but I am unaware of any book written in this style with such a clear purpose and focus on improving daily practice. The second edition of this book is certainly something to look forward to and which is definitely needed if the book is to do justice to its title over time.