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Book and Media Reviews
April 8, 2009

Classic Papers in Critical Care

JAMA. 2009;301(14):1485-1489. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.417

In this era of evidence-based guidelines, it is often helpful to know the foundation of current concepts of clinical care. Although these concepts are often based on myriad clinical trials and systematic observations, in each area of medicine a limited number of pivotal studies can be identified that fundamentally changed contemporary ways of thinking or altered the management of patients.

In Classic Papers in Critical Care, the editors have succeeded in presenting these crucial papers in the field of intensive care medicine. The book is divided into 22 sections covering the entire specialty. Sections cover ventilation, the heart, renal support, or the liver in critical illness but likewise cover major disease entities as sepsis, burns, and trauma. Management strategies on specific topics including nutrition and metabolism, fluids, or infections are also part of the sections, as are important items such as scoring systems or monitoring. An excellent section on ethics is also included. The last section lists a series of recently published major trials not yet regarded as “classics” but having the potential to be thought of as such.

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