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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert M Arensman, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a slender, 150-page text dedicated exclusively to providing all the current information known on this entity. This comprehensive survey begins with classification, proceeds to morphology, focuses on diagnosis and treatment (first medical and then surgical), and advances to transplantation. Of special note are the chapters on the genetics of hypoplastic heart development, nursing care, and Chasing the Light: a parent's perspective on the syndrome.
Purpose: There is no introduction from the three editors of this book; however, in the foreword written by Mr. William J. Brawn of the Birmingham Children's Hospital, he states that "the authors...are to be congratulated for bringing together all the important aspects of the care of children with hypoplasia of the left heart, and providing a gold mine of information for their colleagues throughout the world." This seems to state the objective of the text quite well and is indeed what the editors and authors have achieved.
Audience: The text, pictures, diagrams, and line drawings are excellent but quite complicated. This text will only be understood easily by those quite familiar with the syndrome. Complexity demands familiarity for good comprehension and clarity, especially in the chapters dealing with the Norwood and Fontan procedures. The three editors and 24 contributors are well recognized authorities on this condition—the majority from well known centers in the United Kingdom with smaller contributions from individuals at the University of Michigan and Loma Linda University in the United States.
Features: Since this is a single topic text, all chapters are devoted to an explanation of some aspect of hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Present are chapters on areas such as classification, morphological development of the anomaly, and general care—medical, surgical, and anesthetic. As is increasingly common in all texts, there is a well done chapter on genetics summarizing the current knowledge and listing the recommendation to families about the possibilities of multiply involved children. The text concludes with chapters written by the nursing service and families of children afflicted with this difficult problem. The text is highly illustrated and includes many color photographs of anomalous hearts in the early chapters. These are extremely well done, but they will be difficult to interpret by those not fairly knowledgeable with hypoplastic anatomy.
Assessment: In conclusion, this a comprehensive compendium of current information on hypoplastic left heart problems. It is a very complete source of information, illustrations, and care from intrauterine diagnosis to correction and ultimately transplantation.