Description: This is a welcome update of a classic neurology text last revised in 1982 that focuses on the pathophysiology, etiology, and diagnosis of altered states of consciousness.
Purpose: The book offers a straightforward approach to the diagnosis and management of comatose patients. Despite the widespread availability of imaging modalities such as CT scan and MRI, the examination of the comatose patient remains the cornerstone of diagnosis and treatment. The book instructs readers how to evaluate the comatose patient in a comprehensive and timely fashion, allowing for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Audience: Although written for neurologists, both residents in training and practicing physicians, those in other specialties, particularly those which deal with the emergent care of critically ill patients, would benefit from this book. The authors are recognized experts in the field, with the most senior authors, Plum and Posner, having written the first three editions.
Features: The book systematically addresses the pathophysiology underlying coma, the examination and diagnostic evaluation of the comatose patient, and the etiology and prognosis of coma. One chapter in particular, on the examination of the comatose patient, should be considered required reading for anyone completing a neurology residency. The authors' coverage of this topic is timeless and has changed little from earlier editions. One welcome feature of this edition is the presence of detailed, high quality images including MRI, SPECT imaging, CT perfusion scanning, and more.
Assessment: This is an excellent text, and the substantial changes since the third edition easily justify the purchase of a new copy.