Reviewer: David J. Dries, MD (University of Minnesota Medical School)
Description: This is the fourth edition of a popular introduction to critical care.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the fundamentals applicable to any adult intensive care unit.
Audience: Students of critical care at any stage of training will benefit from this work, which is the work of a single author.
Features: The book opens with hemodynamic monitoring, including catheter descriptions, basic cardiovascular physiology, and strategies for resuscitation and optimizing oxygen delivery. Subsequent chapters describe the use of blood products, respiratory physiology, and basic mechanical ventilation. The second half of the book covers specific organ system dysfunction including kidneys, abdominal organs, and central nervous system. Later chapters describe nutrition strategies and review general classes of critical care medications. Chapters are clearly written and use color and texture of type to identify individual topics. Tables and illustrations are in color in this edition, and they reproduce with excellent quality. Occasionally radiographs are presented, which have adequate resolution. Each chapter contains a reference list divided to correspond to topics within the chapter. Most references represent classic papers with most recent citations dating to within two to three years of publication. The table of contents groups chapters by type of content and a detailed subject index of 50 pages includes separate notations for figures and tables. Three appendixes containing standard critical care data, reference values, and formulas are an additional bonus. This edition also includes online resources.
Assessment: This is a worthy update of its predecessors. The emphasis on resuscitation and cardiovascular physiology is appropriate for any critical care population. Details of specialized critical care practice, such as advanced mechanical ventilation modes and care of specialized patient groups, can be found in larger textbooks.