James C. Eisenach, M.D., Editor

Airway Management: Principles and Practice. By Jonathan L. Benumof. St. Louis, Mosby-Year Book, 1996. Price:$125.00

This is the complete book of airway management. It is 957 pages long and divides airway management into four distinct areas: 1) basic clinical science considerations; 2) the American Society of Anesthesiologists' Difficult Airway Algorithm and its implications in airway management; 3) a discussion of the various approaches to management of the airway; and 4) presentation and discussion of clinical situations and approaches to airway problems and their solutions.

The book features an extensive outline at the beginning of each chapter. This provides easy access to all major topics covered in each chapter. Each chapter is well referenced, with pertinent discussion of the relevant literature. The illustrations include photographs, line drawings, and black and white pictures, but there are no color photographs, pictures, or illustrations of airway anatomy. Many views, particularly fiberoptic views of airway anatomy, may have been served better by color pictures.

The basic science section covers extensively the vast array of basic physiologic, anatomic, and biochemical foundations important in understanding the airway and airway management. A nice section on anatomy of the airway is presented, but the lack of color pictures detracts from the impact of several of the illustrations. A discussion of the radiologic evaluation of the airway is presented for many different lesions; however, a systematic approach to viewing and evaluation of the radiographs, specifically for the anesthesiologist, is not delineated.

The book emphasizes how to approach and manage the airway, particularly from the point of view of the anesthesiologist. To this end, the chapters on airway intervention, approaches, and devices are well organized compilations of a vast array of literature now placed in one hardcover reference book. The discussion of gadgets and special techniques is presented in a straightforward and organized way, permitting easy reference. These sections are also valuable for those not routinely using many of these techniques, but who are interested in developing sound knowledge for incorporation of many newer techniques and practices into their armamentarium to avoid the potential airway disaster.

The case presentations are excellent supplements to the discussion of techniques and approaches. The incorporation of the discussion from other sections into clinical scenarios and the application into real life cases is beneficial for teaching and for greater understanding.

Although there are multiple areas of redundancy throughout the book, in general it is well organized, and all aspects of airway management applicable to the anesthesiologist are covered thoroughly. Despite the lack of color pictures, the book provides an excellent foundation and reference in airway management for anesthesiologists in training or those already in practice.

Douglas G. Ririe, MD; Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Bowman Gray School or Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157–1009.