Handbook of Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation, edited by Iain MacPhee and Jiří Froněk. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Handbook of Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation is a concise, well-written and practical guide to transplantation that will provide members of the multidisciplinary transplant team with easily accessible and clinically relevant information on all aspects of the transplant process. It is a very well-produced book that incorporates 25 chapters each written by experts in their area, and covering the entire patient journey from assessment for transplant suitability through to long-term recipient follow-up. Included also are chapters on deceased donor management and organ procurement, as well as assessment of the potential living donor and live donor nephrectomy. All of the chapters are well referenced and clearly laid out with visually attractive blue headings and blue background tables that enhance the readability of the text. The book includes numerous photographs (some in color) and tables, although curiously there are very few line diagrams. While too large to be considered “pocket sized” the book, which is a softbound production, is small enough to be carried around easily for use in the clinic or ward.

The Editors make the point in the preface that when they set out to produce the book there was no contemporary handbook that focused on European rather than North American practice and that transplant practice differs significantly across international boundaries. They chose, therefore, to tailor the book specifically for European transplant practice and consequently all of the 37 expert contributors are from European centers. While not an unreasonable approach it is evident on reading the book that in most areas of transplant practice there is, in fact, little difference between European and North American practice. Indeed, with the exception of the excellent chapter on organization of transplant services in the United Kingdom and Eurotransplant, there is relatively little in the book that would not be widely applicable. Moreover, it was notable that much of the evidence-based guidance provided in many chapters is based on that arising from North America such as, for example, the definition of extended criteria deceased kidney donors.

The content of this book is very well pitched for the target audience and I could find little in the content of the text to take issue with. Inevitably in a book written by multiple authors there is some degree of repetition particularly in the introductory sections of the chapters. The rationale was not entirely clear for using separate chapters by different authors to describe the surgical techniques for implanting deceased and living donor kidneys respectively. Given the large amount of overlap and the minor but noticeable inconsistencies that arise from this approach a combined chapter might have been more appropriate. Overall, the chapters give a very balanced assessment and recommendations for best practice. The only exception was the chapter on live donor nephrectomy. While providing a nicely written account of the various surgical approaches for live donor nephrectomy it places a disproportionate emphasis on the hand assisted laparoscopic retroperitoneal approach.

These are minor points and the Editors should be congratulated for producing an excellent and accessible handbook that can be strongly recommended to all members of transplant teams, irrespective of whether they are based in Europe or elsewhere.