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Edited by Crispin Davies and Yaver Bashir. (Pp 390; £35.) BMJ Books, 2001. ISBN 0-7279-1484-7.
Intended for cardiologists and physicians dealing with critically ill patients, the overall emphasis of this well written, informative, and easy-to-read book is practical advice on common problems, incorporating clinical trial evidence where possible. Unusually for a book with multiple contributors, it is consistent in style.
Its simple layout will have a wide appeal. Line diagrams, tables, boxes and flow charts, combined with topics delineated by clear section headings, help break up the text into digestible chunks.
Topics are covered in sufficient detail to provide a theoretical basis for those unfamiliar with the specialty. The section on practical procedures covers the indications, difficulties, and potential hazards of the central venous access, temporary paciong, pulmonary catheterisation, DC cardioversion, pericardiocentesis, and balloon pumping. Drug doses are provided in the appropriate section but repeated as an appendix for quick reference.
The clinical cases demonstrate good practice and reinforce lessons learned from the text. Useful summaries provided at the end of each chapter will be of particular value to medical students cramming for finals.
The information appears as up to date as a book can be, though new cardiopulmonary resuscitation guidelines released in February 2001 place more emphasis on the use of amiodarone rather than lignocaine.
The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.