Kaura, P. Textbook of Anaesthesia is a feature of most departmental libraries in the UK, and it has become a core text for anaesthesia trainees. The first edition was published nearly 30 years ago, and the book has since grown in strength. It has adapted to the dynamic changes in the training of anaesthesia in order to meet its stated ethos of providing a concise, easy-to-read text for those preparing for the Primary examinations of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists FRCA. It is also aimed at trainees in anaesthesia in many other countries, allied health-care professionals involved in the perioperative period, and those revising their core knowledge for the final FRCA. In this edition, not only has the title and content changed, but there are two new editors, with Drs I.
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Kaura, P. Textbook of Anaesthesia is a feature of most departmental libraries in the UK, and it has become a core text for anaesthesia trainees. The first edition was published nearly 30 years ago, and the book has since grown in strength. It has adapted to the dynamic changes in the training of anaesthesia in order to meet its stated ethos of providing a concise, easy-to-read text for those preparing for the Primary examinations of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists FRCA.
It is also aimed at trainees in anaesthesia in many other countries, allied health-care professionals involved in the perioperative period, and those revising their core knowledge for the final FRCA. In this edition, not only has the title and content changed, but there are two new editors, with Drs I.
Moppett and J. Thompson replacing Professors Rowbotham and Smith. Furthermore, 25 new authors including current examiners of the FRCA have joined the group to help ensure that the material is contemporary and relevant, with numerous chapters undergoing a complete rewrite or reorganization from the fifth edition.
There are a total of 47 chapters and appendices; the latter include a succinct chapter on training and assessment in anaesthesia. Novice trainees will find this an incredibly useful reference from which to start the book and their training. The initial 16 chapters cover basic pharmacology, physiology, physics, and clinical measurement. There is a greater emphasis on pharmacology over the other basic sciences, some of which are integrated into the subsequent clinically orientated chapters.
Nevertheless, readers may wish to supplement the basic sciences with books dedicated to these subjects; references for further reading are provided. This is not a disadvantage to the book, because most of the major UK core anaesthetic textbooks, in their plight to keep the text concise, result in the requirement of a degree of supplementation from other more specific texts to cover the curriculum to the depth necessary. However, it is a great starting point from which to pin more in-depth and complex knowledge.
The text is written in an unambiguous, clear, and logical manner, which is supplemented by the use of key tables and figures, many of which readers will find are fundamental for the Primary FRCA Structured Oral Examination. The figures make use of grayscale; however, given the advancement in other modern textbooks, a future improvement would be to use colour coding to augment both the text and the figures in the book; this would aid in consolidating the transfer of knowledge. The major focus of the book is on the practical conduct of anaesthesia, with two-thirds of the pages dedicated to this whilst ensuring the integration of the basic sciences where essential.
These chapters are clearly titled with headings that closely relate to the module titles of the UK FRCA syllabus; nevertheless, a greater direct referencing to the competencies in the FRCA curriculum would have been a bonus. True to the aims of the book, the clinical chapters are sufficiently detailed to cover the core knowledge required for the Primary FRCA; this is a major advantage over other such textbooks, which do not clearly cover these topics in sufficient depth or with a distinct structure.
These more clinically orientated chapters follow a clear route from the preoperative assessment to the operating theatre environment, anaesthesia for the different specialities, followed by the postoperative recovery and associated complications during this period. An example of the inherent logical progression is from chapter 17, on general preoperative assessment, to chapter 18, which addresses how to assess and manage the common pathologies one may encounter at the preoperative visit.
The latter takes a systems approach whilst discussing the common and the more major pathologies and how anaesthesia can be tailored best to manage these conditions.
There is a degree of inherent duplication; for example, the pre-assessment chapter discusses some of the risk prediction scoring systems and echocardiography, which is then repeated in the chapter on managing the high-risk patient chapter This can be difficult to avoid when numerous authors are writing a multi-editor textbook, but the advantage is that duplication does help to emphasize important learning points and allows readers to read relevant chapters without having to cross-reference various parts of the book for the information they are seeking.
Readers studying for the final FRCA would also find chapters on anaesthesia for cardiac and neurosurgery helpful as a foundation upon which to pin greater knowledge from other texts. The obstetric chapter chapter 35 takes a good holistic view on this sub-speciality, with sufficiently detailed knowledge to cover the competencies required for the Primary FRCA. Moreover, it also provides more practical information for the junior anaesthetist preparing to work on the labour ward; this includes a failed intubation drill.
The final chapters in the book are dedicated to the intensive care unit, resuscitation, and chronic pain. The chapter on intensive care is a brief introduction 30 pages to this speciality; trainees would need to resort to other texts to gain the knowledge required to cover the basic competencies in intensive care medicine. Notably, individuals studying for the Primary FRCA will find the clear appendix on clinical data a pertinent last minute aide-memoire of core data for the examination.
This last subject, despite seeming such an obvious aim of anaesthesia, is topical, and it is appropriate that this has been addressed, even if only to introduce the reader to the terminology used in this area.
In summary, although this book does provide a concise, well-structured core text for those preparing for the Primary FRCA, as with other core texts it needs further supplementation with more detailed, subject-specific books in order to cover the curriculum comprehensively. Nevertheless, it is a book we would recommend highly to the new anaesthetist embarking on tackling the Primary examinations and to more experienced anaesthetists who desire a refresher of the basics. The Textbook of Anaesthesia has stood the test of time, and this latest edition is sure to be popular among current trainees in anaesthesia.
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A Textbook of Anaesthesia, 4th Edition
Aitkenhead, D. Rowbotham, G. Smith, editors. Churchill Livingstone: London, England. When I picked up this book, it was clearly an introductory textbook, which would normally necessitate cover-to-cover reading. What an onerous task. This is a large, soft-cover book of more than pages, and the print is small.
Smith and Aitkenhead's Textbook of Anaesthesia
It is also a highly trusted, practical guide for all anaesthetists and other health care professionals involved in the perioperative period. Building on previous worldwide success, this sixth edition has been thoroughly updated and reorganised to reflect current anaesthetic practice and the basic sciences that directly underpin it. The inclusion of several new chapters continues to ensure complete coverage of key and evolving areas and new, experienced authors also add a fresh perspective to this edition. Clear and concise coverage of the full range of modern clinical practice - from anaesthetic equipment and pre-operative assessment through to post-operative care, local anaesthesia, anaesthesia for individual specialties, intensive care and the management of chronic pain. New chapters on resuscitation; management of the difficult airway; management of the high-risk patient; anaesthetic considerations in transplant patients; consent and information; safety and quality improvement and education and training appendix.