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Cousins and Bridenbaugh's Neural Blockade in Clinical Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Fourth Edition.

Cousins and Bridenbaugh's Neural Blockade in Clinical Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Fourth Edition. Eds M. J. Cousins, D. B. Carr, T. T. Horlocher, P. O. Bridenbaugh; Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Suite 303, 55 Mountain Street, Broadway, NSW 2007; $394.90. pp. 1305; 220x280 mm; ISBN: 978-0-7817-7388-1.

Cousins and Bridenbaugh's encyclopedic textbook on regional anaesthesia and pain management has been deservedly popular since it was first published in 1980. This has been in large part due to the editors' success in producing a text that is both comprehensive and accessible for the practising clinician.

Despite a (slight) change in title and the addition of two new editors, the fourth edition retains a familiar external appearance. However, it is a different story inside. The format has been extensively revised, with much more use of colour, both for illustrations and for partitioning. The book comprises 51 chapters that are divided into four parts: the first covers the pharmacology and neurophysiology of neural blockade, the second and third cover neural blockade techniques and their anaesthetic applications, while the fourth part deals with neural blockade and the management of pain. The book also comes with a key for full online access to its contents.

The biggest change in the fourth edition is that the section on pain management has been reorganised and expanded to now occupy fully half of the book. This is a reflection of the enormous scientific progress in pain medicine that has been made in the decade since the previous edition, from its pathophysiology to behavioural aspects. There are also new chapters covering pain management in specific clinical areas, such as cancer patients and in paediatric and geriatric populations.

The regional anaesthesia component of the book has also been extensively revised, with new chapters on neural blockade for specific clinical applications, such as cardiac surgery. Unsurprisingly, coverage of ultrasound-guided blocks has been greatly expanded. However, this coverage is quite uneven - for example, while there is a lot of detail on ultrasound-guided upper limb blocks, there is very little on the lower limb.

At around two-thirds the price, I think that Hadzic's excellent Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Management represents better value as a textbook of regional anaesthesia. However, as a comprehensive overview of the modern role of neural blockade in pain medicine, Cousins and Bridenbaugh remains unchallenged.

P. Forrest

Sydney, New South Wales
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Author:Forrest, P.
Publication:Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2009
Words:390
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