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Atlas of hemofiltration: a practical guide for beginners


Continuous haemofiltration is widely used in critically ill patients, and the Atlas of Hemofiltration is designed to facilitate its routine use in clinical practice. Divided into three parts, the book provides a swift but adequate and comprehensive introduction into the principles and techniques, devices, and practical aspects of haemofiltration.

The first part explains the principles of blood purification and introduces the reader to the complex nomenclature. It also describes the principles of solute transport, allowing one to understand what exactly is being removed, to what degree and by means of which mechanism.

In the second, richly illustrated part, the authors present nine haemofiltration devices. Although this section will soon be outdated because of the fast moving nature of the discipline, these brief reports form a vital aspect of the book. A few sentences are provided for each device regarding its performance and main characteristics, as is a list of major advantages and disadvantages. Hence, this part of the book is very useful for practitioners who wish to compare several devices in theory before actually testing them in their own units. It should be noted that some of the devices are not presented by the authors themselves but rather by contributors who are affiliated with the respective manufacturers; potential conflicts of interest are stated in all cases, however, and these chapters are of similar quality to those written by the authors themselves.

The third part of the book explains some practical aspects of haemofiltration, including vascular access, anticoagulation, drug removal and use in paediatric patients. Again, these chapters are very nicely presented. Two of them deserve special mention. Chapter 15 uses a case presentation to describe the most commonly encountered problems in haemofiltration, and provides some useful tips for troubleshooting where appropriate. Chapter 17 addresses all of the important nursing issues associated with haemofiltration, again including a very interesting troubleshooting guide.

Overall the book is well designed. One might regret that illustrations and figures are in black and white, but coloured illustrations would have raised the price considerably. The chapters are well organized and the index will help the reader to find all necessary information quickly. Of course, this is not a textbook, and therefore it is no surprise that the information may appear limited in parts, especially to the expert in the field. Nevertheless, it is a practical and useful guide, not only for the physician who wishes to introduce haemofiltration into their critical care unit, but also for all trainee physicians and nurses who work in units in which haemofiltration is common practice.

Book details

Rinaldo Bellomo, Ian Baldwin, Claudio Ronco, Thomas Golper: Atlas of Hemofiltration. London, Edinburgh,New York, etc.: W.B. Saunders, 2002. 100 pp. ISBN 0-7020-2504-6 (Pbk).

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Correspondence to Daniel De Backer.

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De Backer, D. Atlas of hemofiltration: a practical guide for beginners. Crit Care 6, 276 (2002).

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