Examination Intensive Care Medicine (2nd edition)


Examination Intensive Care Medicine (2nd edition)C. Foot, L. Steel, K. Vidhani, B. Lister, M. MacPartlin & N. BlackwellElsevier Health, ISBN 978-0729539623, 338 pp., Price £32.26

Revising for examinations in intensive care medicine (ICM) has always been a daunting task, with an almost endless syllabus. The second edition of Examination Intensive Care Medicine provides a valuable addition to a prospective candidate’s armamentarium.

The book is written by Australian intensivists and is primarily aimed at candidates for the Australasian Fellowship of the College of Intensive Care Medicine (FCICM). However, the authors wisely and usefully ensure the book is relevant to both the current UK Intercollegiate Diploma in Intensive Care Medicine (DICM) and the European Diploma in Intensive Care Medicine (EDIC), although ongoing changes to these exams mean that its overview is already out of date. However, both the EDIC and DICM (soon to be replaced by Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FFICM)) will become increasingly similar to the Australasian FCICM.

The book superbly achieves what it sets out to do – be a revision guide to exams in ICM, rather than a textbook of ICM. Aside from providing introductions to the various exam formats, it brings together a wealth of hugely relevant information into one place. It contains chapters overviewing basic sciences, equipment, practical and procedural skills and data interpretation. Each contains information that, to my mind at least, has not been available in one text before and would take prospective candidates considerable time and effort to collate themselves. Aside from presenting an almost overwhelming amount of information, the authors succeed in offering useful explanations and summaries to ensure that the text remains exam focused.

Later chapters provide advice on vivas and clinical cases. Whilst useful to any exam candidate, the progressive move of both the EDIC and FFICM towards OCSEs means that candidates for these exams may find these chapters less relevant.

Special mention ought to be made of the DVD that accompanies the book, supplementing the printed material. I was expecting videos of equipment and procedures relevant to ICM exams, but instead found additional information and images to accompany the book chapters, along with a vast array of interactive practice questions and cases, plus a review of significant ICM literature, all of which will be of benefit to the prospective exam candidate. My only criticism of the DVD is that I found it neither user-friendly nor intuitive.

Overall, the book is a fantastic revision aid for exams in ICM. I would definitely recommend it to those considering sitting such exams, even with the numerous ongoing changes to their structure. I consider it to be, at present, the best available resource for both parts of the EDIC and, at the very least, the soon-to-be FFICM Final.