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From The CriticsReviewer: Sally Northam, RN, PhD (Texas Woman's University)
Description: This is a guide to cardiac rhythm interpretation and patient care. Initial chapters review the basics, including cardiac A and P and dysrhythmias. Subsequent chapters review various dysrhythmias including sinus, atrial, junctional, and ventricular.
Purpose: The goal is to familiarize nurses with the physiologic process taking place during dysrhythmia and the corresponding implications for the patient's care. "The unique benefit of this book is that it incorporates the pathophysiology, pharmacologic therapies, medical treatment, and nursing actions of each cardiac dysrhythmia," according to the authors.
Audience: The editors identify a wide audience ranging from neophyte cardiac nurses to advanced practitioners. Used in conjunction with the recommended one-week intensive course, this text may serve a diverse group. However, the lack of in-depth detail helpful to advanced practitioners, particularly with regard to the effects of stroke volume changes and electrolyte imbalances, limit its utility as a reference.
Features: The book is divided into four sections: review of the basics; interpreting basic cardiac rhythms; rhythms of the pediatric population; and advanced concepts in cardiac rhythms. Chapters begin with brief overviews and include helpful figures. References are current and pertinent, with a particularly well-referenced chapter on cardiac rhythms in the pediatric population. Numerous practice strips and case studies provide opportunities for application and are followed by answers. The table of contents presents the main headings for each of the 18 chapters. The glossary and index are detailed and helpful, although they lack volume terms (preload, afterload, stroke volume, cardiac output), pulse deficit, hypo and hyperkalemia, and calcemia.
Assessment: This text is a good basic review of cardiac rhythm interpretation and patient care. The chapter on educating nursing staff walks a beginning educator through all steps of planning and implementing a program, and includes a helpful schedule of content for a one week course. It is easy to read and provides ample practice opportunities to aid learning.