Neurocritical Care: A Guide to Practical Management

Neurocritical Care: A Guide to Practical Management. John P. Adams, Dominic Bell, Justin McKinly (Editors). Springer 2010, 177 pages, 90 illustrations, $79.95.

Too often, handbooks designed to present a specific topic in a simple, understandable, and credible context fall short of expectations. That is certainly not the case with this excellently organized, well presented, and practical manual of what constitutes modern neurocritical care. The authors have managed to simplify a mountain of complex and often contentious technical information into a usable and practical resource manual that is timely and explicit in its detail.

The text begins with what one should do when confronted by a neurologically ill or injured patient while working in an outlying hospital or clinic. The correct course of action in the primary care setting is well described with the “Key Points” presented up front. These points are then followed by a concise explanation of why this is the proper pathway toward a safe and expedient transfer of the patient to the specialty hospital. The text is highly accurate and consistent with all of the current management guidelines put forth by the various professional neuroscience organizations. Because this volume is so well organized and concise in its presentation, it will be of great value as a teaching aid for critical care physicians, neurocritical care nurses, and allied health workers in the neuroscience fields.

This manual-sized textbook is full of meaningful figures, although a few are of a lesser quality, depicting the various neuro-imaging studies available to the practitioner.  The figures are well labeled with a clear explanation of the subject matter. Neuroradiologists will find this text of interest because it describes well the neuro-pathology responsible for the image abnormalities presented.  Multimodal monitoring of neurological function, used more and more in critical care due to the difficulty in interpreting single variables in neurological disease, is additionally presented and clearly explained in the text.

In summary, Neurocritical care: A Guide to Practical Management is a comprehensive well conceived and presented text. Concise and organized in a logical step-by-step fashion, it will provide the reader with a fundamental knowledge of acute neurological disease processes, a clearly defined plan of action for the physician with an explanation complimented with descriptive neuro-imaging, step-by-step charts, and well delineated graphs. More information is packed into this book than in other books three times the size. For a more detailed analysis of the subjects presented, a list of the top references for each subject is provided.

I recommend this book as a practical manual for anyone who may become involved in the care of acutely ill neurological patients, especially those working in emergency rooms and community hospitals. It is also a good resource book for physicians training to be neurologists, neurosurgeons, trauma specialists, intensivists, or interventionalists.

Neurocritical Care: A Guide to Practical Management