Critical Care: A Volume in the Requisites in Anesthesiology Series. By Peter J. Papadakos, M.D., F.C.C.P., F.C.C.M., and James E. Szalados, M.D., M.B.A., M.H.A., F.C.C.P., F.C.C.M. Series Editor: Roberta L. Hines, B.A., M.D. Philadelphia, Elsevier-Mosby, 2005. Pages: 450. Price: $79.95.

I welcome the first edition of Critical Care , The Requisites in Anesthesiology , by Peter Papadakos, M.D. (Professor of Anesthesiology, Surgery and Neurosurgery, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY), and James Szalados, M.D. (Partner, Westside Anesthesia Associates of Rochester, Rochester, NY). As one who belongs to the generation of 21st-century PubMed, Google Scholar, UpToDate, Cochrane Library, and evidence-based literature searches, I was faced with a serious doubt about how to objectively review a conventional critical care textbook. Indeed, I could hardly remember the last time after the board examination that I had opened a textbook to look up clinical information. With a measurable dose of skepticism, I browsed a few chapters of particular interest to me. To my surprise, I found it an enjoyable and entertaining after-work reading. And I learned quite a bit, too. Chapter after chapter, my interest and enthusiasm kept growing, and by the end of the first third of the text, I was happy to conclude that standard-format textbooks still deserve a prominent and unique place in medical education.

While complementing other materials in the series, this text can also serve as a stand-alone introductory reference for practice and teaching of postoperative as well as nonoperative intensive care medicine. With contributions from both anesthesiologists and other critical care experts from various disciplines, this textbook highlights the modern, intensivist-guided multidisciplinary approach in the care of critically ill or injured patients.

Although notably lacking illustrated diagrams and algorithms, the text is rich in tables, “clinical caveats,”“pearls,”“current controversies,” and “case studies,” all of which break up the dense but logical text to make for easy reading and understanding of basic and advanced concepts of intensive care medicine. To the extent it is possible in a conventional textbook format, the content of each chapter is reasonably up-to-date. The editors, Drs. Papadakos and Szalados, should be commended for stressing the importance of evidence-based practices and, throughout this textbook, emphasizing key clinical research findings that have shaped the field of critical care medicine over the past several years.

The first part, General Principles of Intensive Care Unit , contains diverse topics from basics of electrolyte management and hemodynamic monitoring to state of the art reviews on modern sepsis management and Stewart’s acid–base approach. The second part, Organ Systems , includes the techniques of organ failure support, diagnosis, and management of important emergencies, all arranged by major organ systems. The third part, Trauma and Ethics , deals with consequences or injury and other environmental exposures as well as scoring systems and ethical, legal, and financial issues in critical care medicine. Of particular interest is a chapter describing currently hot topics of safety, quality assurance, quality improvement, and performance measures in critical care medicine. Finally, the last part, Postanesthesia Care Unit , describes the recognition and management of common and important problems encountered in postanesthesia care units.

In conclusion, Critical Care , The Requisites in Anesthesiology , represents a useful and important addition to critical care library. I believe that an audience of intensivists, anesthesiologists, and physician and nonphysician critical care practitioners and trainees of any background will find this book useful in everyday practice, learning, and teaching. The concise but comprehensive format of this clinical text will also make it a good companion for board examination preparations.

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.