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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David J. Dries, MD (University of Minnesota Medical School)
Description: This is the first edition of a multiauthored handbook of multidisciplinary adult critical care medicine.
Purpose: Designed as a resource for the workers in the trenches, this manual is designed to be comprehensive, practical and yet concise.
Audience: The ICU house staff working in medical, surgical, or cardiac intensive care units is an appropriate audience for this work. Editors and contributors are based largely at the University of Pennsylvania or have trained in this system.
Features: Ninety-eight chapters, an appendix of common values and protocols, and an index are included in the 1100 pages of this handsome, softbound work. Chapters are organized into sections beginning with pathophysiology and problems common to any adult intensive care unit. Patient problems requiring intensive care unit admission and problems arising during the intensive care unit stay are then reviewed. Finally, care of patients undergoing major procedures performed by general, vascular, cardiac, neurological, or orthopedic surgeons are discussed. Chapters are typically 10 to 15 pages in length. Major subheadings are divided by texture of type. Flow diagrams and tables are frequently used. Other illustrations including graphs and line drawings are uncommon. Each chapter concludes with an annotated bibliography describing classic references. While some references date to within two years of publication, many are five years prior to publication or more. Chapters are divided into sections with authorship indicated in the table of contents. An index of 40 pages with separate citations for illustrations and tables is included at the end of the text.
Assessment: There is much to recommend in this manual. I was particularly attracted to the organization of chapters around common problems encountered in the ICU. The breadth of material includes relevant concepts for the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and internist. I would prefer to see more emphasis on recent work in the reference lists. Finally, use of a large number of contributors increases the risk of redundancy.