By Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., Richard D. Urman, M.D., M.B.A., Scott Segal, M.D., M.H.C.M. New York, Springer, 2010. Pages: 575. Price: $29.95.

Drs. Ehrenfeld, Urman, and Segal have done an excellent job at compressing the complexities of anesthesia into an easy-to-read text aimed at medical students in Anesthesia Student Survival Guide: A Case-based Approach . This pocket-sized paperback text provides a brief overview of the highlights of anesthesia. The book covers a broad range of basic topics, from preoperative patient evaluation to anesthesia care in more specialized areas, such as orthopedic, urologic, pediatric, and geriatric surgery. The case-based design of this text provides a broader view of anesthesia than is provided by more traditional texts. The 32 case studies are presented both at the beginning of the textbook and at the end of each chapter. It may be helpful in future editions to place the case stems at the beginning of each chapter as a complement to the learning objectives, with corresponding answers at the end of each chapter.

We were pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of appealing color diagrams and photographs, in addition to the typical black and white figures. These colored figures are atypical in a paperback text. Many of these colored figures provided great detail. Unfortunately, others were of relatively poor quality. The quality of the grayscale diagrams also varied from chapter to chapter. Greater consistency in the format of figures, diagrams, and photos would enhance the book.

A number of useful tables are scattered throughout the text and provide the reader with a quick reference to specific topics of interest. An appendix covers two topics: the American Society of Anesthesiologists Difficult Airway Algorithm and Malignant Hyperthermia. Clearly, these are important topics. However, additional depth would have been added to the appendix had it covered some of the other important issues that face anesthesiologists, such as some of those listed on the Publication and Services  section of American Society of Anesthesiologists Web site.

Although the authors did not intend this to be a comprehensive review of anesthesia, chapters covering basic physiology and the autonomic nervous system would have been helpful. These topics are mentioned within the context of specific specialty topics. However, given their relative importance and the student audience, expansion of these two topics would be reasonable. In addition, a glossary of common terms and a list with a description of the most commonly used medications would have been helpful.

This is one of the only anesthesia texts that mentions issues associated with the National Residency Matching Program, Electronic Residency Application Service, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. It also contains a nice section on professionalism and ethics. Given the target audience, it would also have been good to have included issues associated with the residency selection process.

Although we made a number of suggestions that might be considered in the next edition, we believe that this text is a definite winner as it stands. A key advantage of this text is the suggested retail price of $29.95. This text is a good investment for the medical student who is being introduced to the specialty of anesthesia.

* Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana.