Description: This is a collection of descriptions of papers introducing treatment strategies in neurological critical care.
Purpose: The book presents front pages and summaries of papers that have had a significant impact on the diagnosis and management of critical neurological conditions.
Audience: Intensivists, particularly those managing neurological patients, are an appropriate audience for this book, produced by a senior neurologist and intensivist from the Mayo Clinic.
Features: The 60 historical notes are grouped into eight sections. The initial section describes the early days of neurological intensive care, while later sections describe clinical syndromes, management strategies, intervention trials, and outcome reports. Two concluding historical notes describe the introduction of the living will concept and limiting the level of care. Examples of clinical findings include the fixed dilated pupil, decerebrate rigidity, the Cushing reflex, the Cushing ulcer, cerebral salt wasting, and thunderclap headache. The clinical syndromes described include brain death, persistent vegetative state, locked-in syndrome, myasthenic crisis, and pituitary apoplexy. The book covers the origins of contemporary management strategies including hyperventilation, use of osmotic agents, and therapeutic hypothermia and provides outcome studies describing treatment results for traumatic brain injury, cerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and persistent vegetative state, among others. Each historical note uses a consistent format, presenting the context of the paper and reproducing the front page, then providing response to the manuscript and a reflection on the impact of the strategy on neurological critical care today. The table of contents groups the historical notes according to type of innovation.
Assessment: This unique and beautifully written summary is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of any practitioner providing neurological intensive care. Sentinel papers are placed in the context of important follow-up work, which increases the value of this collection.