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Tobin MJ: Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation, 2nd Ed.

ISBN 0-07-144767-9 2006 McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1,442 pages

While busy schedules and the opportunities arising from the medical informatics boom of the 21st century (PubMed, UpToDate, Cochrane Library) are leaving less and less time for reading traditional texts, Tobin's book is one of the rare standard-format textbooks that still deserves a unique place in the education of critical care clinicians and researchers.

In this second edition, the chapters are organized into 15 general areas including the diverse topics from the physical and physiologic principles to the history of mechanical ventilation, ethics and economics. Each chapter is formatted as a "state of the art" review; a summary of scientific knowledge on the subject along with an exhaustive list of original references. This comprehensive account of acute respiratory failure and mechanical ventilation covers in detail underlying physiologic principles and corresponding management of patients, including conventional and unconventional modes of ventilation, specific settings, artificial airways, monitoring, adjunctive treatments and complications. To the extent possible in a conventional textbook format, each chapter is reasonably up to date. Among 70 chapters, 24 are completely new, reflecting recent issues in the field including mechanical ventilation in acute lung injury, noninvasive ventilation, sleep and speech. Particularly enjoyable are passionate accounts written by the editor himself: indications for mechanical ventilation, monitoring and weaning. The book is also an elemental resource for researchers as each of the experts exposes critical knowledge gaps that need to be filled in future studies.

This is hardly a book for the novice. Thorough basic knowledge of critical care medicine, physiology and mechanical ventilation is a prerequisite for meaningful reading. While notably lacking colored illustrations, the text is rich in tables and figures outlining key physiologic and clinical principles reproduced from the authors' own work. Perhaps the most important critique of this edition is the absence of an electronic format. An electronic version would allow not only for an easy reference to particular topics, but would also facilitate communication of important concepts between the readers (clinicians and researchers).

In conclusion, the second edition of Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation represents an essential piece in any critical care library. This text will serve as a reference for a wide audience of academic clinicians and researchers who will find this book useful in everyday practice, learning and teaching. The back cover slogan: "The authoritative account of the use of mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients" is not just an advertisement but a true description of this remarkable text.

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Correspondence to Ognjen Gajic.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Gajic, O. Tobin MJ: Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation, 2nd Ed.. Crit Care 11, 315 (2007).

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  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Acute Lung Injury
  • Acute Respiratory Failure
  • Noninvasive Ventilation
  • Physiologic Principle