Neurotrauma and Critical Care of the brain 

Edited by: Jack Jallo and Christopher M. Loftus

Published by: Thieme 2nd Ed (2018)

Price: £177.20

No. of Pages: 416

ISBN Number: 978-1-62623-336-2

Book reviewed by: Nicole Lichtblau

This comprehensive and brilliantly illustrated textbook covers all aspects of traumatic brain injury and its acute care. Edited by the two US neurosurgeons Jack Jallo and Christopher M Loftus, it is not just a perfect resource for neurosurgical colleagues but in fact for all specialties involved in the care of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), including the emergency care doctor, intensivist and the neurologist. 

Starting with a historical background and epidemiological facts of traumatic brain injuries they are setting the scene for the relevance and frequency of TBI and how treatment standards have evolved. The next chapters are covering the basic concepts of TBI classification, pathophysiology and neuroanatomy with various tables and illustrations serving as a quick reference and to visualise complex contents. The final chapters then focus on monitoring and treatment at different stages – pre-hospital, Emergency Department, Intensive Care through to Neurorehabilitation. The authors summarise nicely the English literature up to 2016 and set out what current standards should be. In that they also emphasise the differences in certain groups of TBI, such as military or paediatric cases. Even though often referring to the US healthcare system, it is still literature worthwhile reading outside the US. The book also offers insights into creating guidelines and treatment standards. Some chapters focus on research needs and this book therefore is of relevance to academic and managerial tasks of clinicians. 

It only has a few shortcomings. From a neurologist’s perspective, I would have wished for more extensive review and discussion of treatments for neurological complications of TBI, such as post-traumatic headache, vertigo, epilepsy, cognitive and behavioural symptoms. Even though they are all mentioned to some degree throughout the different chapters, their treatment approach is less well discussed as other aspects of treatment, such as VTE prophylaxis, nutrition and respiratory needs.  

The whole book is generally well written and nicely illustrated. However, it might have benefited from more careful editing to make it a coherent textbook. As it is, it is rather a collection of review papers written by different authors. This leads to a lot of repetition and at times slightly different opinions on the same topic.  

But overall a comprehensive review on traumatic brain injury and its management, this book will be a valuable source to those treating patients with TBI.