Author: Richard Novak, MD
The Anesthesia Consultant
There are hundreds of anesthesia textbooks, but which current books are the gold standards for anesthesia knowledge? Should you buy these books, or should you advocate that your hospital purchase them for the medical library? When I was in residency training, I bought earlier editions of many of these textbooks so I could underline and highlight pertinent pages. If you purchased all 11 books in a print version today it would cost $1,643.49. The twenty-first century is a digital age, and if you purchased all 11 books in an ebook version today it would cost slightly less, at $1453.00. I currently have access to these ebooks through Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library, and I read them remotely through the Lane Library’s online website. I’ve come to prefer to read a digital copy over a hardcover book. A digital copy of a textbook is easy to access, easy to search keywords, and it’s convenient to print out excerpts or chapters. A digital textbook collection is portable, and can travel with you in your laptop, your phone, or your tablet. Digital access to all this written expertise can be at your fingertips anywhere, including in the operating room suite.
The Anesthesia Consultant’s 2022 List of the Top Anesthesia Books includes:
Miller’s Anesthesia, 9th edition, 2019, Editor-in-Chief Michael Gropper. Miller’s has been the comprehensive textbook in our specialty since the first edition in 1981, and it touches on every facet of anesthesiology. All anesthesia providers should have access to the current two-volume 3112-page edition. (ebook $299.99, hardcover $327.16)
Anesthesiologist’s Manual of Surgical Procedures, 6th edition, 2019, Editor-in-Chief Richard Jaffe. This textbook is organized by surgical subspecialties, and contains a catalog of almost every common surgical procedure in a fashion analogous to an academic “cookbook.” Both surgeons and anesthesiologists analyze each procedure, and include the pertinent details of might be described as an “anesthesia recipe” for each type of case. (ebook $165.29, hardcover $126.17)
The Stanford Emergency Manual. This is a free laminated guide with algorithms describing the diagnosis and treatment of the 26 most common ACLS and non-ACLS perioperative anesthesia emergencies. This is an essential cognitive aide for every operating room, code cart, and anesthetizing location in the world. (Free download)
Kaplan’s Cardiac Anesthesia: In Cardiac and Noncardiac Surgery, 7th edition, 2016, Editor Joel Kaplan. For decades Dr. Joel Kaplan has been the go-to author regarding cardiac anesthesia as well as the management of cardiac disease in noncardiac surgery. This textbook combines both topics into a single volume. (ebook $201.99, hardcover $270.49)
A Practical Approach to Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine, 5th edition, 2017, Editors Joseph Neal, De Tran, and Francis Salinas. From its beginning at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Clinic nearly 30 years ago, this textbook remains the top resource in the burgeoning fields of ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia and acute pain medicine. (ebook $106.99, paperback $78.07)
Chestnut’s Obstetrics Anesthesia: Principles and Practice, 6th edition, 2014, Editor David Chestnut. First published in 1984, this is the leading textbook covering the field of obstetric anesthesiology. (ebook $152.49, hardcover $172.99)
A Practice of Anesthesia for Infants and Children, 6th edition, 2018, Editors Charles Cote and Jerrold Lerman. Cote’s book has been the bible for pediatric anesthesiologists for nearly fifty years. (ebook $146.49, hardcover $203.11)
Stoelting’s Anesthesia and Co-existing Disease, 8th edition, 2021, Editors Roberta Hines and Stephanie Jones. First published in 1983, Stoelting’s Anesthesia and Co-existing Disease is the leading textbook regarding co-existing and uncommon diseases, with a stated goal to “provide a concise description of the pathophysiology of disease states and their medical management that is relevant to the care of the patient in the perioperative period.” (ebook $110.49, hardcover $128.01)
Complications in Anesthesia, 3rd edition, 2017, Editors Lee Fleisher and Stanley Rosenbaum. First published in 1999, this textbook lists 223 chapters, each detailing a specific problem/complication in perioperative medicine, and includes a step-by-step approach to understanding the pathophysiology and the treatment of each complication. (ebook $85.49, hardcover $114.65)
Miller’s Basics of Anesthesia, 8th edition, 2022, Editor Manual Pardo. (ebook $62.99, hardcover $99.99) First published in 1984, this is a condensed version of the two-volume 3112-page Miller’s Anesthesia tome listed as #1 above. In the 1990s my anesthesia chairman stated, “If a trainee knew everything written in this book, they’d be able to pass the American Board of Anesthesiology written and oral exams.” I would agree. The most important topics of anesthesia practice are well-presented in this 960-page book.
Anesthesia Equipment: Principles and Applications, 3rd edition, 2020, Editor Jan Ehrenwerth. Every anesthesia professional should understand the machines they utilize. This textbook, was first published in 1993, answers the questions pertaining to anesthesia machines, airway equipment, monitors and other perioperative devices. (ebook $120.79, hardcover $122.85)