Atlas of Anesthesia-Volume IV: Principles of Anesthetic Techniques and Anesthetic Emergencies. By R. D. Miller and K. K. Tremper. Philadelphia, Churchill-Livingstone, Current Medicine Inc., 1998. Pages: 204. Price:$135.00.
As presented by the authors, this book is a part of a large collection of teaching visuals in the field of anesthesiology. Although I finished formal training several years ago, I was really pleased to discover again basic anesthetic topics in a colored, alive, and attractive way. This atlas feels like a picture book, only one step better because a series of lecture slides are being reviewed, which provide, in clear and well-done figures, a brief but complete presentation of daily practice situations.
This volume contains 11 chapters selected to review common techniques to induce anesthesia (intravenous, inhalation, and regional) and the most relevant problems associated with clinical practice (such as positioning, malignant hyperthermia, transfusion, hypotension, and airway or hemodynamic emergencies). Each chapter is written by different contributors and introduced by a brief summary that indicates the direction in which the authors want to orient the reader and the points on which they will focus. This is important because each chapter itself could be the subject of an entire textbook.
Overall, the book is heavily oriented toward safety in practice, and many figures highlight risks factors, equipment failures and hazards, and drug side effects. As a general rule, each chapter provides a good synthesis and a rather global view of its subject, some historical considerations to recent drugs or technical aspects (monitors, laboratory tests), and useful guides to drug dosages and physiologic principles. The information provided is up to date and illustrated by images, graphs, decision-making trees, and reasonably complete algorithms. Short but precise explanations close to these figures contribute to the reader's understanding and provide more-detailed references.
In reviewing this book as a synthesis of basic practice by way of pictures, there is little to disagree with. Fine Figure presentationand concise, close-by explanations have been selected for simplicity and to enhance reader understanding and recall. The sections regarding regional anesthesia, however, would have benefited from more-detailed and relevant anatomic representations, because those included are oversimplified and not particularly useful.
In summary, I would recommend this atlas to all anesthesiologists as a visual complement to classic textbooks. It is an excellent teaching resource, using an appealing and easy method of presentation, which lends itself ideally for study for examinations and preparations for lectures, or just to quickly freshen ones memory about a topic. When I closed this atlas, I really thought that the authors had met the goals they wanted to reach: to promote anesthesiology education and teaching in a visual and dynamic way.
Patricia Lavand'homme, M.D.
Department of Anesthesiology; St. Luc Hospital-Universite Catholique de Louvain Medical School; Brussels, Belgium
(Accepted for publication August 26, 1998.)