R Puana, J Nates
R Puana, J Nates. Book Review: Oxford Handbook of Critical Care - Second Edition. The Internet Journal of Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine. 2006 Volume 10 Number 1.
Oxford Handbook of Critical Care - Second EditionBy Dr. Mervyn Singer and Dr.Andrew R.Webb. Published by Oxford University Press INC., New York, 2006, 605 pp, $42.50.ISBN 0-19-263190-X (paperback)
The intensive care unit is an integral part of every major hospital throughout the world. From postoperative fluid management to respiratory insufficiency the intensive care unit (ICU) is an ever changing environment. It lends itself to the newest integrations of technology to the application of age old invasive procedures. The personnel have to be highly trained and ever vigilant in their pursuit of perfection and attention to detail. Unlike many other professions within the hospital, the intensivist must have the ability to gather pertinent information in an organized manner and facilitate deep judgment on the task or problem at hand; often in a very short period of time.
The daily management of critical care problems is a tremendous challenge for the medical community. Drs. Singer and Webb have taken on the task of organizing a guide for physicians to respond to common and sometimes not so common ICU dilemmas. The book is divided into a systems based approach separating techniques, monitoring, drugs, disorders, and ICU sub-specialty issues such as burn, obstetrics and death.
The book is also available in a PDA format that can be easily downloaded onto your PDA with both DOS and windows format. The PDA format is set up with the same organization but with an easy to use searchable database. It is also,
The chapters are succinctly written with a major description of any pertinent pathophysiology, diagnosis, disease state, or clinical considerations in paragraph form. Major points of action, differential diagnosis, management, complications, side effects, etc. can be found in easy to find bullet point format. The sections although logically divided, take a bit of time to get used to (ie. - chest tube insertion, respiratory monitoring, and the main respiratory chapter are divided under there own separated sections throughout the book). Yet, what it is lacking in organization it makes up for in concise detail in such a brief efficient manner. Procedures are easy to follow with its bullet point format and clearly defined pitfalls, contraindications, and helpful hints. Chapters are then subdivided with pertinent points of interest helping determine differential diagnosis with their appropriate cardio-pulmonary tests, suggested radiographs, and fitting lab analysis with expected results. It then systematically recommends interventions and/or the appropriate next step.
In practical terms, the book is easy to follow and covers an extensive amount of ground in a very short time. It is elegantly written in a concise problem orientated manner that deals with an array of issues from small electrolyte abnormalities to insertion of a percutaneous tracheostomy. Albeit, the organization is set up differently then this author is used to, the index section dually makes up for this shortcoming as everything is easily located using it.
In conclusion, this book is an easy to read reference for the novice ICU physician. It is chalked full of landmark references, detailed criteria and current guidelines. In this author's option, no book this size has it all, but this small pocket sized companion really does a good job hitting the overall, everyday, management of problems in the ICU.