McGraw-Hill Specialty Board Review: Anesthesiology Examination & Board Review, 6th Edition. By Mark Dershwitz, M.D., Ph.D., and J. Matthias Walz, M.D. New York, McGraw-Hill Companies, 2006. Pages: 403. Price: $69.00.

Designed as a study aid for the American Board of Anesthesiology written examination, the sixth edition of Anesthesiology Examination & Board Review  was published earlier this year by McGraw-Hill Companies. This comprehensive question-and-answer review resource is useful to anesthesia residents seeking to pass board certification examinations as well as practitioners preparing for recertification. The fifth edition was previously titled MGH Board Review of Anesthesiology  and published as part of the Appleton & Lange Review series by McGraw-Hill medical publishing division. Despite its new name, Anesthesiology Examination & Board Review  is organized identically to its predecessor in terms of its basic and clinical science chapters. In fact, the table of contents and chapter headings are exact duplicates of the fifth edition. Chapters covering obstetrics, pediatrics, and cardiovascular surgery list new expert authors.

Anesthesiology Examination & Board Review  contains 1,450 board-style questions and a 350-question practice test, all with detailed answers and explanations. Those looking for a bank of entirely new practice questions may be disappointed because the majority of questions in the chapters and practice test are identical to those in the fifth edition. Answers and explanations tend to be concise reviews of the principle or subject matter tested rather than detailed discussions of individual answer choices. This style will fit the needs of most readers and is time efficient but may frustrate those looking for more detailed explanations as to why particular answer choices are incorrect. A puzzling statement on the book’s cover is its claim to include a new chapter on patient complications and patient safety. This chapter, “Complications of Anesthesia and Quality Assurance,” contains a few new questions but was taken en masse from the previous edition. Another inconsistency is the book cover claim to include 1,900 board-type questions when the senior editor’s introduction confirms a total of 1,800 questions.

Despite the discrepancy between the book’s blurb and its contents, Anesthesiology Examination & Board Review , sixth edition, remains one of the most complete Q&A practice resources available. The introduction contains explanations of single best answer and K-type test questions, as well as strategies for how to approach these questions. The index allows readers to quickly identify chapter and test questions by topic. As a supplement with other reference materials, this resource is particularly suited to anesthesia residents looking to test their knowledge base using simulated certification examination–style questions. It may also be an excellent review resource for those whose time-limited certificates now require them to undergo periodic recertification.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.