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From The CriticsReviewer: Jeffrey L Apfelbaum, MD(University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: In this book the editor takes a unique approach in his attempt to help readers to benefit from a systemic review of the literature to allow them to apply the most effective treatments to common dilemmas in clinical anesthesiology. Rather than using traditional chapters, the editor has chosen a unique structure to educate and inform. Dr. Fleisher has posed some 70 questions of considerable clinical importance and asked the authors to provide a response to each based on their review of the literature and evidentiary conclusions.
Purpose: "The editor has indicated that it was his goal to provide a structured way of looking at a series of clinically important questions. Authors were asked to provide an overall background or introduction to a question, outline the options for treatment, review the evidence, identify areas of uncertainty, outline any available guidelines, and, finally, to provide their own recommendations. The vast majority of authors do a credible, if not excellent, job of accomplishing the editors' goals. Unfortunately, in some cases, the naïve reader may be left with an impression that there is a definitive answer to the question posed at the beginning of a chapter when, in fact, the "evidence" is insufficient to justify the authors' apparent conclusion. "
Audience: As suggested in the foreword, the book is an excellent educational tool for clinical practitioners of anesthesiology, as well as for residents and medical students. It provides an interesting perspective in that the reader is presented not only with a summary of the literature review, but also with the opinion of an expert in the subspecialty area.
Features: After an introduction that addresses evidence-based practice guidelines as approached by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the book is broken into sections on preoperative preparation, perioperative management, regional anesthesia, cardiovascular anesthesia, neurosurgical anesthesia, obstetrical anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, and pain. Some 108 authors, many internationally renowned experts in their subspecialty areas, have contributed to answering the 70 questions posed by the editor. References are current, and one of the highlights of each chapter is a unique section entitled "author's recommendations."
Assessment: The book is very well written and is structured in a format that facilitates goal-directed learning. I know of no comparable books in the field. If the reader is inquisitive about any of the 70 questions posed here, the literature review and summaries provided by the expert authors are generally excellent to outstanding. However, shortcomings include the simple fact that the book is limited to the 70 questions and, as previously stated, the presentation may leave the naïve reader with the impression that there is a "definitive" answer when, in fact, the "evidence" is insufficient to justify the apparent conclusion. This book will definitely be a reference in my personal library.