Concise Anatomy for Anaesthesia, 1st edition.  By Andreas G. Erdmann. London, Greenwich Medical Media, 2001. Pages: 141. Price: $39.95.

Written by an anesthetist from Peterborough, England, who was motivated by personal experience and comments from previous examination candidates, the main purpose of Concise Anatomy for Anaesthesia  is to present an illustrated outline of anatomy based on the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA) examination syllabus, intended for examinees preparing for the viva , or oral examination. It is further touted as a quick review for educators, practicing anesthetists at all levels of experience, and operating room personnel.

The book's content is divided into five major sections: respiratory system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, vertebral column, and areas of special interest. Within each section are several chapters that further delineate topics relevant to the anesthesiologist. For example, the respiratory system section includes one chapter each for the mouth, nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and bronchial tree, pleura and mediastinum, lungs, and diaphragm. Where relevant, chapter headings include anatomic description and borders, relation to bordering anatomic structures, points of interest, vascular supply, nerve supply, and lymphatic drainage. The succinct, explanatory text is primarily in outline form. Each chapter is accompanied by at least one figure on the opposite-facing page. Because FRCA examination candidates often are required to compose anatomy sketches, all illustrations are simple, black-and-white drawings. Adopted from the actual FRCA format, open-ended, essay-type sample questions conclude each section.

The originality and simplicity of this book is impressive. The outline text with an adjacent figure allows the reader to rapidly review each topic systematically, making the book very user friendly. Answering the sample questions may require research of more thorough resources because of the concise nature of this book's text. This may detract from the speed of use that Concise Anatomy for Anaesthesia  offers, yet mastery of these study questions will ensure an adequate knowledge foundation of anatomy specific to anesthesiology. The index is straightforward and, naturally, is similar to that of an anatomy atlas.

Admittedly, this book is not a complete anatomy reference. From the anatomic illustration standpoint, the figures lack color and dimension. From the narrative perspective, the text lacks details of function, physiology, and pathology. Taken together, this book is best suited for the FRCA candidate because of its brevity and relevance to the anatomy portion of the examination. It appears that the FRCA examination emphasizes more recitation of anatomy than the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) examination. Nevertheless, anatomic knowledge is paramount to the astute anesthesia provider, regardless of location, and this book certainly will not hinder preparation for any anesthesia examination. Because the drawings can be recreated, and the text can be recited, educators and trainees alike will benefit. In summary, Concise Anatomy for Anaesthesia  is a solid bet for reviewing anatomy specific to our profession in a short time. The black-and-white format obviously keeps the cost down to a reasonable $39.95—a welcome relief at the bookstore.