Shnider and Levinson's Anesthesia for Obstetrics, 4th edition. Edited by Samuel C. Hughes, Gershon Levinson, Mark A. Rosen. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002. Pages: 706. Price: $129.00.
Almost a decade ago, when I was a young anesthesia resident, an attending gave me a new copy of the third edition of Sol Shnider's Anesthesia for Obstetrics . I was told that Dr. Shnider was a pioneer in the field of obstetric anesthesia, and that this book was the best on the subject. The attending became a mentor, and his gift became a bible for me as I went on to pursue a career in obstetric anesthesia. I have anxiously awaited the release of the latest edition because there have been many recent advances in the field of obstetric anesthesia. There are now a number of complete textbooks on the subject; however, the fourth edition of Anesthesia for Obstetrics is unique. It lives up to my highest expectations. The new edition masterfully blends the latest important research with vital new information for one's clinical practice. It is an easy-to-read and comprehensive textbook that has undergone a complete revision. Anyone who provides obstetric anesthesia care will find this book an essential addition to his or her library.
The editors of this book have gone to great pains to improve on the third edition. The chapters on regional anesthesia and intraspinal opioids are perfect examples. They contain the latest on research into spinal adjuncts, as well as pertinent clinical information on combined spinal–epidural anesthesia. The chapters on cesarean section, choice of local anesthetic, and electronic fetal monitoring are exceptional. In addition to all of the fantastic core material that is covered in this book, it also includes some great chapters that are not seen in other texts. For example, there is a terrific chapter on the effects anesthetics have on uterine activity, another on the best choice of local anesthetic in obstetrics (including the latest on spinal toxicity), and a thoroughly fascinating chapter on recent advances in fetal surgery. There is also a completely new chapter on airway management in pregnancy, which is practical in presentation and is the best on the subject that I have ever seen.
Obviously I love this textbook. You may ask, however, if there are any negative features. Unfortunately, there is one. It appears that the fourth edition is so jam-packed with new information that the editors felt compelled to reduce the print size. This was probably done to keep the book's size and total page count consistent with previous editions. I found this change annoying while reading, even though my eyesight is good. I'd like to see the larger print back even if it means a larger book. In addition, some of the terrific diagrams in this book did not copy well and could use a dash of color.
In summary, this is a textbook for the masses and is essential for those who love obstetric anesthesia. I applaud the editors for their efforts to create a text that is comprehensive, practical, and unique. I like it so much that I may have to run out and buy a copy for my favorite resident.