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Key topics in critical care
  1. PAUL SPIERS, Consultant Anaesthetist
  1. Leicester General Hospital
  2. Leicester, UK

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    Key topics in critical care, TM Craft, JP Nolan, MJA Parr. pp 268. Bios Scientific Publishers, 1999. £19.95, paperback. ISBN 1 85996 286 6****

    The book continues with the format of its companion books with short chapters listed in alphabetical order. Contributors to the book are from an Australian–South West England axis, with a wide range of experience, from an Senior House Officer in surgery to the Director of an intensive care unit.

    The book has a disappointing start with a chapter on Admission and Discharge Criteria which repeats the Department of Health 1996 guidelines. There is a word processing error in the second paragraph and a prominent flow chart which would exclude many of my patients for consideration of intensive and high-dependency care on the grounds of their significant co-morbidity.

    The rest of the book concentrates on common clinical problems. It stood up to a working test in the month I had to review it. The short chapters could be easily scanned whilst walking up corridors on the way to see patients, allowing one to appear knowledgeable and up-to-date at the bedside. There is an excellent chapter on analysis of arterial blood gases which should be mandatory reading for all doctors ordering the investigation. For those readers wanting more, each chapter ends with a guide to further reading.

    This book fulfils its objectives which is to provide a framework for candidates of postgraduate medical examinations as well as a good starting point for all those expected to care for critically ill patients.

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