Physiological Basis of Ventilatory Support. Edited by John J. Marini and Arthur S. Slutsky. New York, Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1998. Pages: 1,464. Price:$295.00.

This text is volume 118 in the respected ongoing series on Lung Biology in Health and Disease under the executive editorship of Dr. Claude Lenfant, Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Drs. Marini and Slutsky, the expert editors of this volume, are to be commended on engaging an outstanding group of 66 of the world's leaders in ventilation as contributors and for integrating their final 38 chapters into an impressive reference text. The book is divided logically into four parts:(1) basic physiologic aspects of ventilation;(2) sequelae of mechanical ventilation;(3) initiation of ventilation; and (4) specific issues in ventilation.

Chapters are well-organized, range in length from 22 pages to 75 pages, and contain 25–248 references per chapter. Most of the reference sections are comprehensive and reasonably timely (through 1997) for such a large, multiauthored textbook. The book is printed on high-quality acid-free paper and has excellent tables, graphs, and figures, and superb photomicrographs and drawings. As anticipated for the algebraic-oriented clinician, Dr. Marini has included a sufficient number of equations. The index is easy to use, comprehensive, and logical in format and key wording.

Trying to highlight and cite specific chapters would only reflect this reviewer's interests and biases and potentially shortchange fine pieces. Suffice it to say, chapters appeared to be edited carefully, with balanced presentations on evolving or controversial topics, such as "best" mode of ventilation, ventilatory monitoring, alternate modes of ventilation, weaning, and need for additional clinical trials. Clinical recommendations are up to date, well-referenced, and not fraught with excessive personal opinion or bias. As expected in such a large multiauthored text, there is a fair, but not excessive, degree of redundancy.

There are an acceptable number of typographic and format errors in the book. These are mainly subtle inaccuracies in individual references or whether references are listed alphabetically, as in chapter 1, or by appearance throughout the remainder of the text. The only topics of interest to this reviewer that might deserve broader discussion are nosocomial lung infection/ventilator-associated pulmonary infection, imaging of the ventilated patient, and ongoing controversies in therapy, such as the use of corticosteroids to limit the progression of fibroproliferation in acute respiratory distress syndrome.

In summary, nearly everything about this book is impressive, including its weight, 4 lb 4 oz (2,040 g) and price $295.00 (approximately $0.15/g). It is a user-friendly, state of the art reference that I recommend as a resource to anyone caring for patients requiring ventilatory support, trainees, and applied physiologists.

Douglas B. Coursin, M.D.

Professor; Anesthesiology and Internal Medicine; Associate Director; Trauma and Life Support Center; University of Wisconsin; Madison, Wisconsin 53792–3272;

(Accepted for publication January 7, 1999.)