Edited by Tim Smith, M.D., F.R.C.A., Colin Pinnock, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.A., Ted Lin, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.A. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pages: 956. Price: $141.99.

While reviewing Fundamentals of Anaesthesia , I could not help but find myself reading with a British accent. The third edition of this book represents an update of the publication geared toward trainees who sit for part 1 of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anesthetists (FRCA) examination, taken in the first or second year of training. During the training program, the trainee anesthetist takes an examination in two parts (primary and final).

The editors are contributors to the FRCA examination; in the preface, editor Tim Smith indicates the desire to provide a textbook specifically designed around and correlated closely with the syllabus for the primary FRCA examination. This text accomplishes this goal by its organization and content, which promote reading and comprehension targeted specifically for that examination. The text includes the competency-based training framework for the examination in the newly created Appendix. All the chapters have been revised, and an update on preoperative assessment is included.

The third edition is organized into four color-coded sections. The first section (Clinical Anaesthesia) begins with preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative management. It includes a new chapter on resuscitation, with the European Resuscitation Council and the British Difficult Airway Society algorithms. Other chapters include information about clinical anatomy, regional anesthesia, and special patient circumstances. The second section (Physiology) is comprehensive, covering physiologic aspects of all major organ systems and including topics such as cellular physiology, physiology of the nervous system, and the newly added pain physiology. Pharmacology is the third section, beginning with physical chemistry and including enteral, intravenous, and inhalation medications. The section concludes with clinical trial design and evaluation, which are often overlooked in a text this size. The fourth section (Physics, Clinical Measurement, and Statistics) uniquely presents chapters on mathematics, including calculus, vectors, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging. The section also includes chapters on clinical measurement, anesthetic equipment, and statistics. The Appendix concludes the book, which includes the primary FRCA syllabus. The subjects of physiology, pharmacology, and physics are well represented in the text, correlating to the examination syllabus.

The content of each chapter is clearly summarized on a title page into headings and subheadings. There are 650 black-and-white illustrations throughout the textbook. Although the text is geared toward the FRCA examination, it does provide relevant information for those not taking the examination. However, compared with an equivalent text, Clinical Anesthesiology, Fourth Edition , edited by G. Edward Morgan, Jr, Maged Mikhail, and Michael Murray, Fundamentals of Anaesthesia's  layout may appear nonlinear in that topics (e.g ., obstetrics and obstetric anesthesia) may course over several chapters, requiring the reader to review several chapters for completeness on a topic. Although the layout of the topics may appear nonlinear, the intended reader is the trainee taking the FRCA examination, Fundamentals of Anaesthesia  faithfully adheres to this goal in the organizational schema, and the Appendix facilitates quick cross-references.

Fundamentals of Anaesthesia  is highly practical, is an excellent learning text for training clinicians, and warrants its popularity among anesthesiology trainees in the United Kingdom system. The textbook is unique by cross-referencing most, if not all, of the topics contained on the licensing examination. It is a valuable reference text that provides anesthesia practitioners with essential information covering basic science, physics, and pharmacology. The individual chapters certainly serve as excellent sources of information, but the strength of the text lies in the reliability and fidelity to the FRCA syllabus. Useful chapters not present in most training books include those about applied physics, basic statistics, clinical trials, and physical chemistry; in fact, I most enjoyed reading these chapters. These chapters and the book as a whole serve as excellent sources of information for the trainee in the United Kingdom system and abroad. Finally, the information contained in Fundamentals of Anaesthesia , with its cross-reference section, provides convenience for the busy practitioner.

Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. bryan. williams@yahoo.com