Pharmacology & Physiology in Anesthetic Practice, 4th Edition. By Robert K. Stoelting, M.D., Simon C. Hillier, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.A. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. Pages: 903. Price: $129.00; Handbook of Pharmacology & Physiology in Anesthetic Practice, 2nd Edition. By Robert K. Stoelting, M.D., Simon C. Hillier, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.A. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. Pages: 1,110. Price: $49.95.
In this fourth edition of Pharmacology & Physiology in Anesthetic Practice , Simon Hillier, M.B., Ch.B. (Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana), joins Robert Stoelting, M.D. (retired Chair, Department of Anesthesia, Indiana University School of Medicine), as a coauthor. His contributions include new chapters in the physiology section on thermoregulation and physiology of the newborn and elderly. The textbook is divided into two sections, the first of which is dedicated to pharmacology and the second to physiology. The Handbook of Pharmacology & Physiology in Anesthetic Practice is in its second edition and parallels the textbook. Drs. Stoelting and Hillier manage to explain sometimes daunting material, such as the chapter on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner that engages the reader. What was pleasantly surprising was that they managed to explore the subject matter in some depth while keeping the text concise and easy to read. This makes it an invaluable tool to residents who often complain that at the end of a long day, they need to have something that reads well to stay focused.
In today’s world, when a new drug seems to come on the market on a daily basis, the drug index, which precedes the topic index, is a nice touch. The textbook has a plethora of tables and figures to support the text. However, a few of the figures, particularly some of the schematics, are poorly reproduced and are occasionally difficult to read. The judicious use of color for some of these schematics and figures would have enhanced the visual effect as well as the ease of data interpretation. The handbook uses tables and graphs to stress points; this is effective because space is at a premium.
The text and handbook include information on recent topics, including carbon monoxide production and the risk of fire with exposure of inhalation agents to desiccated carbon dioxide absorbents, bupivacaine biodegradable microcapsules, and the use of nitric oxide for pulmonary hypertension. In addition, a chapter on blood components, substitutes, and hemostatic drugs is included in the pharmacology section, as is a chapter on nutrition.
The physiology section begins with an excellent basic review of cell structure and function. The chapter on the central nervous system addresses the issue of intraoperative awareness. The chapter on the microcirculation and lymphatics is one that is often overlooked, but Drs. Stoelting and Hillier remind us that the circulation exists to supply the tissues with oxygen and nutrients vital for function.
As a team, the authors certainly exceed their goal of providing an in-depth but concise presentation of pharmacology and physiology that is relevant to perioperative physicians. The handbook has almost as much information as the textbook itself and is a handy and readily portable reference for medical students, residents, and practicing anesthesiologists. Pharmacology & Physiology in Anesthetic Practice is a wonderful text that every anesthesia resident should read cover to cover. It would be especially useful for board preparation because it covers a wide range of topics concisely. In addition, it is a great addition to the practicing anesthesiologist’s collection.
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