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Neonatal respiratory disorders, 2nd edn
  1. K McCormick

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    Edited by A Greenough, A D Milner. Published by Arnold, 2003, £115.00 (hardback), pp 533. ISBN 0340808136

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    The title of this second edition should be borne in mind by prospective readers. Those looking for a manual of respiratory care in the wee small hours should look elsewhere. Instead, Greenough and Milner have set themselves the more ambitious task of recording current expert opinion on the causes, management, and outcomes of respiratory disorders affecting the newborn. To achieve this, the editors have drawn on the expertise of those researchers around the world who are recognised leaders in this field and have allowed them a refreshing degree of freedom in expressing their opinions. Herein lies the strength of this text.

    The 15 contributors from the first edition have expanded to more than 40. There is far greater international representation and presumably anticipation of an international readership (traditionalists among us will mourn the demise of caesarean and aetiology in favour of cesarean and etiology). Despite the increased number of authors, this second edition is only marginally longer than the first. No space has been allowed for excess verbiage; fact is backed by reference, leaving opinion to stand alone.

    Although the chapters dealing with basic science have been retained, change in authorship means that many have been rewritten and all have been updated. New chapters include lung liquid, immunology, and microbiology. The clinical management chapters have been rewritten to reflect advances in the use of high frequency oscillation, ECMO, and nitric oxide and to emphasise the importance of feeding. Emphasis is given to long term outcomes in individual conditions, reflecting the increased data available. Additional chapters include respiratory presentation of cardiac disease, apnoea, and bradycardia of prematurity and respiratory problems of infants with neurological disease. Certainly, those who bought the first edition will find enough here to justify investing in the second edition.

    The enthusiasm of contributors for their own areas of research has been allowed to shine through, yet a balance of views has been maintained—Robertson and Johansson’s new chapter on surfactant springs to mind. This leads, inevitably, to differences in style and some idiosyncrasies—how else to explain the fact that CNEP is given almost as many column inches as CPAP? Nonetheless, this book achieves the hallmark of successful medical texts, namely that each chapter can stand alone as a thesis with reasoned argument as to why a particular approach is advocated.

    There are rewards too for those who seek answers to clinical questions. Greenough and Davenport’s revised chapter on abnormalities of the diaphragm complements Nicolaides’ chapter on antenatal imaging and therapy and provides a concise and up to date review of the causes, associations, management, and outcomes of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. The answers to almost all questions raised during antenatal consultation for this condition can be found here.

    Who should buy it? The first edition had a readership wish list of students, physiotherapists, and obstetricians, as well as doctors and nurses working in neonatal intensive care. This edition is aimed at the neonatal clinician and in my view hits the target, thus earning its place in the unit library. In addition, those wishing to explore the literature underpinning current understanding of newborn respiratory disease would be well rewarded by spending some time with this text.

    This then is an eclectic collection of opinions on neonatal respiratory disease built on a sound foundation of basic science. It is a stimulating, rewarding, and enjoyable read—words that don’t often spring to this reader’s mind when contemplating medical texts—and fills the gap between traditional textbook and latest research admirably.

    Book reviews in ADC this month

    The following book/DVD reviews are published in this month’s Archives of Disease in Childhood:

    • Spotting the sick child (DVD)

    • Immunization in practice, a practical guide for health staff

    • Key topics in neonatology, 2nd edition

    • Prevention of allergy and allergic asthma: World Health Organization project report and guidelines

    Pre-published book reviews

    Book reviews that have been accepted for publication but have not yet been published in the print journal can be viewed online at