Since the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) announced the subspecialty certification exam in pediatrics in 2013, board-eligible attending physicians and trainees have been scrambling to find a comprehensive question–based study aid. While many review courses and study outlines are available, often at a hefty price, few have had accompanying questions to actually test knowledge. Rather, it has been up to individuals to gather together old-practice board review or Anesthesiology Continuing Education questions on their own in order to fill this gap. Finally, the board review book that people have been looking for has arrived!
Pediatric Anesthesiology: A Comprehensive Board Review is a “high-yield study aid” that is composed of over 600 questions and full explanations of their answers. The authors organized the textbook based on the published ABA Pediatric Anesthesiology certification content outline, and each major topic within the outline is covered. This includes sections on basic science, organ-based basic and clinical sciences, clinical subspecialties, clinical sciences of anesthesia, and special problems or issues. Each section of the text is then further subdivided into chapters based on the subheadings of the ABA outline.
Questions have been developed in the ABA format, with a stem consisting of a clinical-based scenario followed by four answer choices. While some chapters have as few as 10 questions (Special Techniques and Situations), others have up to 98 questions (Cardiovascular System), depending on the breadth of the subject area. Even though some subjects have fewer questions devoted to them, the authors cover all of the topics in an appropriate amount of detail, seemingly taking into account their relative weight on the actual exam.
An answer key is included that is particularly helpful and detailed. Each question has an answer discussion in which the subject is explored in greater detail, with explanations of why an answer is correct, as well as why the other choices are incorrect. Often, succinct tables and figures are also included to consolidate the information. For instance, in Chapter 4 on the respiratory system, there are 24 questions and their answers presented. The answer key has several helpful images on lung volumes in infants and adults, the zones of lung perfusion, and flow-volume curves. Tables on maintenance of functional residual capacity, normal respiratory values, and techniques for single-lung ventilation are also reproduced, to just name a few. Between the written explanations and these high-yield figures, the vast majority of the ABA content outline on the respiratory system is covered.
To further help, important points in the text are bolded so that the reader can refer to these more easily in later review. A separate section, entitled “Key Facts,” then follows each answer, with bullet points to reiterate the take home message of the question. Finally, references are provided to allow for further reading on a specific topic as needed. Often, these resources are the major pediatric anesthesiology textbooks, from which question writers for the actual exam are sourcing much of their information.
In conclusion, question-based format study resources have long been useful tools to prepare for the written certification exams in anesthesiology and its subspecialties. Pediatric Anesthesiology: A Comprehensive Board Review is the first of this kind in pediatrics. With hundreds of questions that have been developed according to ABA standards, it allows for all types of practitioners to test their knowledge on the majority of topics covered in the published content outline for the pediatric anesthesiology written examination. With explanations of the answers that highlight important facts and key points, this textbook provides a concise yet comprehensive review of the high-yield information one needs to know for the exam. As a special bonus, it costs about a quarter of the amount of many of the online review courses that are currently out there. With this text, the gap in question-based study resources in pediatric anesthesia has finally been filled.