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Principles and Practice of Intensive Care Monitoring.

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Principles and Practice of Intensive Care Monitoring. Tobin Martin J. (Pp 1525, 841 illustrations). USA: McGraw-Hill Inc, 1998. ISBN 0 07 065094 2.

The preface to this text, which forms the companion volume toPrinciples and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation, declares its intent to provide a comprehensive and authoritative compendium of knowledge on intensive care monitoring. Without doubt Martin Tobin has succeeded in this task. It is indeed a massive tome containing over 1500 pages subdivided into 87 chapters, contributed by 129 authors, and covers practically every conceivable aspect of monitoring in the intensive care environment.

The book is generally very well written and, given the number of authors, many of whom are of international renown, shows a commendable level of editorial control. The work is divided by organ system into eight major sections. Individual chapters follow a uniform layout with summaries and are written with an easily readable style, giving the entire work a familiar and comfortable feel. The chapters are indeed comprehensive, ranging from historical review and basic science through practical aspects and troubleshooting to the state of the art. Tables, graphs, and illustrations are used extensively and to good effect, although the quality of reproduction is inconsistent. References are comprehensive, relevant, and up to date.

The weaknesses in the book relate paradoxically to the quest for comprehensiveness and to the genuine difficulty of producing a truly international textbook. The seven chapters devoted to pulmonary artery catheters are excessive, while those concerning more esoteric subjects will be of interest to a minority of readers. Delivery and monitoring of inhaled nitric oxide therapy should probably merit more than six lines. The latter sections of the book dealing with legal issues, standards, and the FDA are unashamedly American and, whilst fascinating, lose immediacy when crossing the Atlantic.

In summary this is an extremely well written text on intensive care that is worth a place on the reference section of any ICU bookshelf. It provides an excellent reference text for trainees new to the specialty and a “dip in and read” book for those with greater experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it.