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Anesthesiology is a science. Anesthesia, at its best, is a craft, comparable with making violins or restoring antique cars. This dichotomy is actually true of all medical and surgical specialties. Research is indispensable; in a few decades, anesthesia will probably look nothing like our current specialty. However, as practitioners and educators, our main interest is to understand how to emulate our best colleagues in the current state of science, those whose patients emerge comfortable, and at least as healthy as before, from the most complex surgeries, and to transmit that knowledge while keeping in mind that anesthesiologists are physicians; they are not technicians who apply “one-size-fits-all” recipes.

When faced with a specific patient or case, extracting from most textbooks the information that will be useful in the operating room can be difficult and time-consuming. The Anesthesia Guide is an attempt to focus on a practical rather than theoretical approach. This book is not intended as a comprehensive textbook. We endeavored to keep the book small enough that it can be carried into the operating room. We used pictures, diagrams, tables, algorithms, and bulleted points rather than lengthy blocks of text. The book will allow a trainee to be fully prepared for a case and will “remind” an experienced clinician how a specific case should be handled. Thus, we made every attempt to include drug dosages, infusion rates, needed monitoring, possible complications, and troubleshooting of common intraoperative problems. Choices had to be made, and not everyone will agree with our selections, but we feel that deciding is preferable to providing a multitude of possible approaches and leaving the reader puzzled as to which one to choose.

We also strongly believe that anesthesiology encompasses all of perioperative medicine, and as a result the Acute Postoperative Pain and Critical Care parts of the book are heftier than in most American anesthesia textbooks.

Reader feedback will help to improve this book in subsequent editions. Please send us your thoughts and criticisms to We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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