The ESC Textbook of Acute and Intensive Cardiac Care
This book serves 2 purposes. First, it is a comprehensive textbook on intensive and cardiac care, and, second, it forms the curriculum for a course of study and testing that can lead to accreditation by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in intensive and acute cardiac care. The book comes with access to a web site for 6 months, which has an online version of the text and includes videos and additional figures and contains all the references. In addition, it has multiple choice questions that need to be done as part of the accreditation process. In fact, 1 chapter of the book is devoted to explaining the mechanics of how accreditation is accomplished.
The book contains 76 chapters divided into 11 sections, starting with the prehospital phase of acute cardiac conditions and going on through various comorbid acute conditions that often accompany acute cardiac disease. There are 793 pages of actual text and several pages of accompanying materials, including 6 pages of acronyms used in the book. Some of the acronyms are commonly used ones, others are rather obscure. Most of the chapters are multiauthored, and most of the authors are from European countries. Some authors are from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Israel.
The aim of the book is to provide high-quality, uniform cardiac intensive care across Europe. Thus, it is directed not only at physicians, but also at nurses and other healthcare providers. Whenever possible, the content coordinates with ESC guidelines to enhance the incorporation of guidelines into practice. The chapters cover a wide variety of issues revolving around acute and intensive cardiac care, such as the structure and function of intensive cardiac care units, pre- and posthospital care, diagnostic techniques, and the management of acute cardiac illnesses. The 3 major causes of acute cardiac care unit admissions, namely, acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, and arrhythmias, each have their own section of the book. Less exciting aspects of intensive cardiac care such as nutritional support and physical therapy are well covered. In addition, there are several chapters on procedures commonly done in the intensive care unit, such as chest tube and temporary pacemaker placement. In addition, there is a section on comorbid conditions that can complicate the management of acute coronary illnesses.
Each chapter starts with a useful summary box and a list of the contents. Each ends with a concluding paragraph and a personal perspective in which the lead authors briefly detail their own personal view of the major issues of the chapter. Although reference numbers appear in the chapters, there are no references at the end of the chapters; they are listed on the web site. However, there is a list of suggested readings at the end of each chapter. The average chapter is 10 pages long; consequently, the chapters are very concise.
The strengths of this book are many. Its parsimonious style lends itself well to the busy physician who wants to quickly look something up. The broad range of topics serves the needs of all members of the cardiac intensive care unit team, from administrators trying to set up 1 of these units, to the clinicians taking care of the patients. The tie-in with the ESC guidelines facilitates the incorporation of these guidelines into patient care. In general, the figures and tables are well done, and the color reproduction on gross anatomy and color Doppler pictures is excellent. Also, equipment, procedures, and techniques are illustrated, which enhances the practical value of the book. Personally, I found a tremendous amount of useful information in this book that was easy to access. In addition, the online version makes mobile access feasible.
For the most part, the chapters are very authoritative, which is a strength of this type of book. However, some chapters concerning more controversial areas such as coronary CT angiography avoid giving definitive recommendations. There is also considerable variability in the amount of detailed instruction in each chapter. The instructions in some chapters are quite detailed, but in others are much less so. For example, some chapters summarize the relevant ESC guidelines, and others merely refer to them. As with any textbook, not all the chapters are completely up to date. Hopefully, there will be a mechanism, especially with the online version, of keeping the chapters up to date in the future. Finally, the production values of the book are less than one would expect from a major publishing house. Some of the illustrations look like power points from the authors' slide collections, whereas others are excellently designed and executed.
In summary, I found this textbook to be concise, yet comprehensive in its coverage of this important topic and believe it will be of considerable value to those who work in acute and intensive cardiac care. In general, it is authoritative rather than scholarly. However, it seems like a worthy curriculum for accreditation in this field and should help achieve the goal of making acute cardiac care uniform and of high quality across Europe.
Michael H. Crawford, MD
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Dr Crawford became a fellow of the ESC the same year this book was published and is a member of the ESC's Annual Scientific Congress Programme Committee. However, this committee is not involved with book publishing, and Dr Crawford had no role in this book.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.