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New England Journal of MedicineTwelve years have elapsed since the publication of the first edition of this reference book. The recently released second edition maintains the reputation of the first as the most comprehensive single source on mechanical ventilation. Its breadth and its up-to-date discussions of the topic make it an ideal reference for the busy clinician.
Editor Martin Tobin should be commended for his work on this new edition, which is a considerable improvement on the first — so much so that it bears little resemblance to its predecessor. There are 24 new chapters, bringing the total to 70, a testament to the major changes in mechanical ventilation that have occurred during the past decade. Contributions from prominent authorities add an international perspective, yet Tobin has been able to establish a relatively uniform style from chapter to chapter, making the book consistent and easy to read. The first chapter, a historical perspective on mechanical ventilation, makes the enormous advances in this field readily apparent. One example is the shift from negative-pressure iron-lung ventilation, in use for polio victims as recently as the 1960s in the United States, to positive-pressure bag ventilation, pioneered during the 1952 polio outbreak in Copenhagen.
One of the great strengths of the book is its wealth of information on the physiology, mechanics, and machinery of mechanical ventilation. It also takes a problem-based approach to treatment, which will appeal to clinicians. There are extensive chapters on acute lung injury, obstructive lung disease, neuromuscular weakness, alternative ventilatory modes, noninvasive ventilation, airway management, home ventilation, and weaning. The authors deal with such topics as agitation, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and even transport of a patient who is being ventilated. The book is well illustrated, with technical ventilator circuit diagrams, clinical radiographs, photographs of a wide array of respiratory therapy equipment, and many ventilator waveform tracings.
We checked the thoroughness of the book by searching through it for solutions to uncommon clinical problems we have confronted in our experience in an intensive care unit and a specialized post–intensive care rehabilitation unit. The book provides helpful advice on complex airway problems, diaphragmatic pacing, and ventilator-supported speech. It reinforces the idea that the era of the comprehensive reference book is not over, especially in the field of critical care.—New England Journal of Medicine