The scope of anesthesiology practice and amount of comorbid disease that accompanies surgical patients are ever expanding. Surgical case numbers seem to be increasing at a faster rate than the census population. The patient population is becoming older, and new medical technologies produce different indications for surgery and anesthesia. As information systems and resources evolve, anesthesiologists are continuously adapting to obtain the most current and accurate information about patients and their diseases in the most convenient method available. Furthermore, to ensure progress of the anesthesia profession, it is the responsibility of anesthesiologists to challenge and facilitate the knowledge of trainees. All of these issues require modern anesthesiologists to develop and maintain a wider breath of knowledge more efficiently than they did a decade ago.

The 5 Minute Anesthesia Consult can be a vital source for the practice and teaching of anesthesiology. It presents a collection of 480 diseases and concepts related to the field of anesthesiology. The topics are organized alphabetically and fall into a general category of: Physiology, Co-existing Disease, Surgical Procedure, and Management. A separate list of anesthesia-pertinent drugs is included as an appendix to the text. Each topic follows an outline format that includes the headings: Basics, Preoperative Assessment or Workup, Treatment or Management, and Postoperative Care or Follow Up. Subheadings contain important issues pertaining to each topic and are designed for rapid information search and acquisition. Much of the actual reading material is in paragraph form merely separated in a bullet format.

As a review book, the breadth of topics is adequate. The depth of material is enough to refamiliarize a reader with a concept previously mastered or present new information to guide further learning of an unfamiliar topic. As the title of the book implies, a comprehensive understanding of every anesthetic consideration is not the goal. The book does indeed present much more information than by a pocket-sized handbook but is not overly decorated with continuous narration and expansion like multi-volume textbook. Some entries, in which the author may find the topic too broad to cover briefly, include suggested text for further reading. Reference material is listed after each entry to facilitate further review if desired.

As a daily reference, each topic is easy to find. Topics are in alphabetical order, which makes the contents organized by subspecialty and an included index irrelevant. Nevertheless, this organization makes it easy to determine whether a certain topic is included. All topics in the hardcopy version are covered in two pages that can be viewed simultaneously. Although the information is dense, the outline format allows a reader to gain a fair understanding of the material in a short time. The alphabetized topics allow quick and easy cross-referencing within the book when flipping to associated diseases. As an added bonus, the International Statistical Classification of Disease (Ninth Revision and Tenth Revision) codes are included at the end of each article.

This book may prove useful as a teaching guide and learning tool for trainees. Trainees could use this book daily and between cases to review implications of their patient’s medical history and develop a safe and effective anesthetic plan. Disease states and concepts included in the text can be easily discussed between attending and trainee throughout the day. Many of the topics are given a list of Clinical Pearls at the end of the section. Despite being a concise resource, at over 1,000 pages the book is too cumbersome to be routinely carried around.

The online access is easy to navigate and the format is almost identical to that of the hardcopy. It is fully searchable by keyword, but the number of keystrokes and links it takes to find and read about a topic may render the hardcopy of the book more user-friendly. Hopefully, the material will become available in a smartphone mobile app version similar to other 5 Minute Consult series.

The 5 Minute Anesthesia Consult should also be useful to a practicing anesthesia provider looking for a quick reference text or to the aspiring anesthesia trainee as a start to developing a wide breath of knowledge. The late publication of this first edition and references listed imply the most current information. The listed authors seem reliable but have variable expertise of the field. The format of the book is truly one of its most valuable assets, because it enables a rapid subject search, easy reading, and paves the way for updateable subsequent editions. In no way is this textbook the most comprehensive reference for general anesthesia available, but it can serve as a quick reference guide and review tool. The book could become a favorite resource to trainees based on the wide range of topics conveniently available from a single source.