Obstetric, Thoracic and Cardiac Anesthesia.  By Robert R. Gaiser, M.D., E. Andrew Ochroch, M.D., and Stuart J. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.; Lee A. Fleisher, M.D. (Series Editor). Philadelphia, Saunders Elsevier, 2009. Pages: 540. Price: $72.95.

As Lee A. Fleisher, M.D., writes in his foreword to Obstetric, Thoracic and Cardiac Anesthesia , anesthesiologists have a “very diverse portfolio of procedures that we perform as part of our daily practice and care for patients with numerous diseases undergoing a wide variety of procedures.”Obstetric, Thoracic and Cardiac Anesthesia  is the first in a series of books, developed by the faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania, designed to “bring best practices information to the location of care.” This goal is realized in the form of complementary pocket-size, paperback print and electronic Apple iPod® (Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA) editions (access to which is included with the print edition but which is not yet available to be loaded onto the seemingly ubiquitous Apple iPhone®). The text is designed for rapid access, with colored section dividers, descriptive searchable chapter titles, an extensive index, and an expansive cardiac drug appendix. It is written in a bulleted format that aims to be concise, easy to read, and to the point, focusing on the practical management of common and not so common but critical situations that may arise in the course of a busy anesthesia practice.

Structurally, this book is organized into four parts, not just the three mentioned in the seemingly ungainly title. An unannounced but excellent airway management section transitions from obstetric anesthesia to thoracic and cardiac anesthesia. Each part is organized around a common framework, starting with normal physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology, then moving into essential and useful techniques and procedures, followed by commonly encountered situations/scenarios with practical considerations for evaluation, management, and complication avoidance.

Well-chosen photographs, drawings, and diagrams from a variety of sources accompany the concise and focused text. The airway management section, although unheralded in the title, is particularly well done, showing the variety of tools and techniques available and their proper application, with practical pearls and useful suggestions for success. A section on echocardiographic findings of common conditions is included but curiously devoid of any images (most likely to keep this text to the size of a pocket guide and not that of an encyclopedia), as is an appendix of cardiac drugs cross-referenced to the previous clinical management sections.

Between the cross-referenced index and chapter titles, searching for information on a particular aspect of any of these subspecialties is rapid and high yield, with the needed information clearly and concisely expressed. In conclusion, I recommend Obstetric, Thoracic and Cardiac Anesthesia  to all levels of providers as a conveniently transportable, easily accessible, and soon-to-be-indispensable resource for best practices in the fields of obstetric, thoracic, and cardiac anesthesia, as well as airway management.

University of Illinois–Chicago Medical School, Chicago, Illinois. cchiang@uic.edu