Reviews of Educational Material  |   November 2003
Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment, 2nd Edition.
Author Notes
  • Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, Minnesota.
Article Information
Reviews of Educational Material
Reviews of Educational Material   |   November 2003
Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment, 2nd Edition.
Anesthesiology 11 2003, Vol.99, 1247-1248. doi:
Anesthesiology 11 2003, Vol.99, 1247-1248. doi:
Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment, 2nd Edition. By Baha Al-Shaikh, F.F.A.R.C.S.I., Simon Stacey, F.R.C.A. Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001. Pages: 208. ISBN: 0443064873. Price: $50.
Anesthesia equipment is frequently taken for granted by anesthesia trainees. Although we enjoy the use of this technology, many trainees find that learning the details regarding the tools of our trade is a chore; I number myself among them. This is unfortunate, because, arguably, no other specialty requires the practitioner to be adept with such a wide variety of equipment and equipment-related technology. However, my reading of Essentials of Anesthetic Equipment  was actually enjoyable! Written with the student of anesthesia in mind, it provides a relatively painless introduction to this sometimes-daunting area.
The book contains 208 high-yield pages, organized into 14 chapters, with information concisely presented. Each chapter contains numerous color pictures, diagrams, and tables that are well chosen to illustrate the salient points. This is especially important in a book describing anesthetic equipment, in which a picture is truly worth a thousand words. The organization of the text is well thought out. Each piece of equipment is introduced in a consistent format that is subdivided by an informative introduction to the equipment, followed by a components  section, a mechanism of action  section, and, finally, a problems in practice and safety features  section. Each chapter then ends with pertinent multiple-choice questions that reinforce important information. Another useful aspect is that the text not only describes but also specifically addresses how to use equipment, such as a commercial retrograde intubation set and a percutaneous tracheostomy kit, in clinical settings. Compared with well-known existing texts dealing with anesthesia equipment, this is not an encyclopedic treatment. Rather, the focus is on the educational presentation of basic principles. Given the sometimes exhaustive, often dry detail presented in other texts with a more referential approach, this is refreshing for the harried trainee.
The American reader will note that the text has a notable “United Kingdom” flavor, as is to be expected considering the authors. SI units will sometimes seem unfamiliar, and conventions such as the standard color of oxygen cylinders (white rather than green) also differ. I did not find these differences to be distracting; however, trainees with very little experience may miss some of these subtleties, engendering confusion. The focus on principles rather than on intricate details of specific items of equipment somewhat moderates this concern.
As a resident nearing the completion of my training, I found that this book helped me gain new insight into the operation of even familiar equipment that I use each day. It also serves as a useful review for examinations, as the book addresses subjects that often find their way into tests, such as electrical safety in the operating room and different types of breathing systems. Although primarily directed toward the trainee, this text would also be of interest to the practicing anesthesiologist who desires a palatable update on this topic.