Reviews of Educational Material  |   August 2014
Essentials of Trauma Anesthesia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • (Accepted for publication February 12, 2014.)
    (Accepted for publication February 12, 2014.)×
Article Information
Reviews of Educational Material / Trauma / Burn Care
Reviews of Educational Material   |   August 2014
Essentials of Trauma Anesthesia
Anesthesiology 08 2014, Vol.121, 437. doi:
Anesthesiology 08 2014, Vol.121, 437. doi:
Each year, trauma accounts for 42 million emergency department visits and 2 million hospital admissions across the nation. Furthermore, because trauma affects all ages, it accounts for 30% of all life years lost in the United States, an impact equal to the life years lost from cancer, heart disease, and human immunodeficiency virus combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As experts in resuscitative medicine and pain management, anesthesiologists are involved in much of the care of these complex patients, starting with Emergency Medical Services from the injury site through transport to the facility-based surgical site, the surgical care of the patient, and the rehabilitation from trauma in the aftermath. Although there are many texts that deal with this complex topic, there are few that can serve as a ready bedside reference for the anesthesiologist who does not routinely deal with critically injured patients and is faced with the urgency of caring for these seriously ill patients, often at untoward hours.
The well-written, current, and relatively concise Essentials of Trauma Anesthesia is that practical reference. It amply fulfills the editors’ intent to succinctly review the essential elements of trauma care from the time of initial injury until the patient leaves the critical care environment from the anesthesiologist’s perspective. The 306 pages of the text are organized into three sections. The first part covers core principles applicable to the care of all trauma patients. It begins with a very well-written synopsis of trauma epidemiology, mechanisms of injury, triage, and prehospital care. This sets the stage for subsequent chapters on the initial evaluation, airway management, resuscitation and fluid and blood component therapy, vascular cannulation, monitoring, general anesthesia, and postoperative care of trauma patients. An excellent chapter on applicable ultrasound-guided regional and neuraxial anesthesia blocks, a review of the clinical applications of transesophageal echocardiography in the management of the trauma patient, and a chapter addressing the management of chemical and radiologic casualties are also included in this section.
The second part of the book provides a focused, in-depth review of injuries by anatomic area and their associated anesthetic concerns. Included chapters focus on the management of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, as well as ocular and maxillofacial, chest, abdominal, and musculoskeletal trauma. The final section discusses the management of trauma in burn victims, as well as pediatric, geriatric, and pregnant patients.
The book is well organized and covers all important aspects of trauma care with very little duplication of the presented material. The text is easy to read and maintains a uniform style as one moves from one chapter to the next. Key points are presented in bullet format at the end of each chapter, serving as a helpful reference for later review. The numerous tables, illustrative diagrams, and photographs included in each chapter complement the text and highlight essential information, and a suggested reading list is included at the end of each chapter. Although not meant to be comprehensive, the material is presented in sufficient depth to offer the anesthesiologist a practical guidebook to learn the important essentials of trauma care and successfully manage these challenging patients.
Although targeted toward anesthesiologists, this well-written, relatively concise, and current book will find a home on the shelf of anyone involved in the care of trauma patients. Because it is so readable, the Essentials of Trauma Anesthesia will be useful for both students and experts, and everyone in between. As a military anesthesiologist, I plan on taking my copy wherever future events may take me.
Competing Interests
The views expressed in this review are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army/Navy/Air Force, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.
Christian Popa, M.D., Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.