Cardiac Arrhythmias in Children and Young Adults With Congenital Heart Disease
Edward P. Walsh, J. Philip Saul, John K. Triedman, eds.
528 pp. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001. $159.00. ISBN 0-397-58744-9
Practical quality is a hallmark bestowed typically on personal amenities and comforts and is an uncommon descriptor for academic texts. It is most appropriate, however, for this compendium edited by Walsh and colleagues, which will likely earn weathered bindings and endure dog-eared pages from usage by most congenital heart disease caregivers.
The text’s preface defines this work as a “core curriculum,” and it achieves its goal. From the embryologic beginnings of the conduction system, the text traces its way through basic to specific principles applicable to general pediatric and adult congenital electrophysiology. Organized into 4 (defined as 3) overall sections, basic electrical concepts are outlined, specific arrhythmias are defined and reviewed, historical and current therapeutic modalities with supportive data are detailed, and most modern and investigative mechanistic principles, diagnostics, and treatments are discussed. It is surprisingly readable for a text of its kind, and is adequately internally cross-referenced, allowing the reader to jump throughout without “spoiling the punch-line.”
The editors have taken caution to avoid “preaching from on-high” from a sole academic center by including a diverse group of sentinel authorities in the field. Chapters regarding conduction system anatomy and embryogenesis, basic overall diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms, automatic and junctional tachycardia diagnostics, and general understanding of accessory pathways, long QT syndrome, and late postoperative atrial flutter were exceptionally well-organized, readable, and encompassing. Technical aspects of control of vasovagal syncope and ablation of ectopic atrial foci, as well as intraatrial and a-v nodal reentrant tachycardias, although minimally redundant, are excellently written.
Perhaps the greatest flaw of this text is that it accomplishes its goal; it functions as a core and intermediate-level primer, and is not encyclopedic. Its ability to instill in the reader the feeling of “hunger for more” is a worthy attribute, however, and Walsh and colleagues should be commended. Given the rapid growth in this field, this text is unlikely to have a long shelf life and will likely see frequent new editions, as it will remain a staple for pediatric and adult congenital cardiac specialists.