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Book Reviews

A. R. Bodenham
Leeds, UK

Anesthetic Pharmacology Basic Principles and Clinical Practice,

2nd Edn, A. Evers, M. Maze and E. Kharasch (editors). Published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Pp.
1194; indexed; illustrated. Price 120.00 (US$ 195.00).
ISBN 978-0-521-89666-5.
The second edition of this comprehensive text comprises 71
chapters and an index. Individual chapters are written by
contributors from a variety of backgrounds, including anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, with the majority of
authors holding academic positions in the USA.

The chapters are distributed between four sections: principles of drug action, physiologic substrates of drug action,
essential drugs in anaesthetic practice, and clinical applications: evidence-based anaesthesia practice. Each chapter
is around 10 20 pages in length supported by 20300
references. The text is clearly presented in two columns per
page. Diagrams are used liberally (approximately every
other page) either as an illustrated figure or as an information table. The paper is of good quality for an illustrated
book of this size.
The book is easy and enjoyable to read. Chapters are
remarkably consistent despite the number of contributors,
achieved by uniform use of headings and subheading hierarchy. Language is clear and explanations of concepts are
comprehensive. There are 18 additional chapters in this
book compared with the first edition. The contents are comprehensive and these reviewers found no omission compared
with other pharmacology texts.
Despite being titled as a pharmacology text, there is significant coverage of the pathophysiology and practice of
anaesthesia. The content is current, with several new drug
compounds and theories of action described.
This book complements the filtered down information
found in many of the smaller texts recommended to trainees
sitting exams and by increasing understanding of the subjects might aid long-term learning.
The final section of the book deals with the application of
pharmacology in anaesthetic practice. It also provides,
where necessary, good descriptions of several important
clinical pharmacology trials to allow readers to broaden
their knowledge of the evidence base.
Overall, this is an excellent book. It provides an enormous
amount of information to the reader in a clear and understandable format. As a reference text, it would be a good
addition to the library of an anaesthesia or intensive care
M. Chikhani and J. G. Hardman
Nottingham, UK


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monitoring, and the anaesthetic machine. (iii) Applied physiology and pharmacology: anaesthesia related to the cardiovascular system, lung, and other systems. Then a brief
applied pharmacology section. (iv) Clinical cases: these give
examples of anaesthetic practice in conscious sedation,
monitored care, Caesarean section under regional block,
nerve blocks, trauma, liver resection, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, paediatric hernia, spinal surgery, and gastric
There is only the briefest mention of the need for postoperative care in the high dependency unit or intensive
care unit, which I think is an omission, given its importance
in more major or emergency cases.
This book provides a very good introduction to the subject
for medical students, those contemplating an anaesthetic
career, and anaesthetic assistants. It would also be a good
read for surgical trainees to gain understanding of some of
the basic principles of anaesthetic practice. In my opinion,
it could be an ideal book for anaesthetic departments to
have on a loan system for rotational students. I would
suggest the title is changed to reflect the target audience
for this good book.