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Review of Comprehensive Surgical Management of Congenital Heart Disease, Second Edition

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Comprehensive Surgical Management of Congenital Heart Disease, Second Edition
Richard A. Jonas, Editor
Illustrations by Rebekah Dodson
Operative videos edited by T. K. Susheel Kumar
CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, March 2014
718 pages, ISBN 9781444112153 

When the first edition of Richard A. Jonas’ Comprehensive Surgical Management of Congenital Heart Disease was published in 2004, it joined an available cadre of excellent textbooks on the subject of surgery for congenital heart disease, as well as the contemporary editions of traditional compendiums on cardiothoracic surgery in its entirety. The first edition distinguished itself in several respects. First, it was entirely devoted to congenital heart surgery. Second, it addressed virtually all related aspects of surgical management, including: anesthesia management, peri-operative care in the intensive care unit, and cardiopulmonary bypass. And third, the largest portion of the book was dedicated to operative management of individual congenital cardiac anomalies. That aspect in itself, of course, is anything but unique. What distinguished Comprehensive Surgical Management of Congenital Heart Disease from most other available resources was the single author perspective. The content of each chapter reflected Dr. Jonas’ own vast experience, supplemented by material from an exhaustive search of the existing literature, to present an integrated approach to understanding each anomaly’s embryology, morphology, pathophysiology, and clinical features, together with a comprehensive approach to multi-disciplinary management with a welcome emphasis on the surgical aspects. All of this was presented and explained in exquisite detail. Very importantly, the entire volume was illustrated beautifully, realistically, and understandably by a single illustrator.

The second edition, published in 2014 by CRC Press, is organized in a similar fashion. Once again, most of the detailed descriptions and discussions of actual surgical procedures reflect Dr. Jonas’ own practices and preferences, supplemented by description of alternative approaches, together with discussion of their perceived advantages and disadvantages. Very importantly, the evolution of treatment strategies leading up to the adoption of contemporary approaches is described, and very up-to-date information on surgical results and on overall outcomes of the management of each congenital cardiac anomaly are presented. As in the first edition, the drawings of surgical operations by Rebekah Dodson are detailed, anatomically accurate, and consistent in quality and in fundamental aspects of anatomy and surgical detail throughout the book. I believe that this approach offers a real advantage to the reader. It is quite obvious that the illustrations presented in each chapter reflect hours and hours of back-and-forth exchanges between Dr. Jonas and Ms. Dodson, resulting in artwork and text that are entirely harmonious, accurate, and easy to understand.

Acknowledging important advances and challenges in the management of congenital heart disease, Dr. Jonas has significantly expanded on the treatment of some subjects (heterotaxy syndrome, for example), and has chosen to include several entirely new chapters in the Second Edition. These new chapters, by very accomplished colleagues of Dr. Jonas, include new and very timely material on anesthesia, pediatric cardiac intensive care, and pediatric cardiovascular nursing care, in addition to mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplantation. Dr. Jonas himself has contributed new and very unique chapters on “Caring for the Patient and Family,” and “Becoming a Congenital Heart Surgeon.” The latter is an important and welcome resource for those aspiring to careers in congenital heart surgery. It covers important aspects of training and certification, including: strategies, resources, and requirements specific to globalization and international training opportunities.

Every aspect of the Second Edition builds on the foundation established with the First Edition. No part of it represents a simple “tune-up” of its predecessor. There are entirely new sections devoted to double root translocation, to valve-sparing aortic root replacement, and to the intra/extracardiac modification of Fontan’s procedure, among others. Also, the e-version of the book includes hyperlinks to a series of narrated operative videos (20-25 minutes in length) that are of extremely high quality.

This is a very comprehensive book, characterized by clarity of description, logic of presentation, and attention to detail. I think that the opportunity for the reader to appreciate a master surgeon’s comprehensive approach to congenital heart surgery in all its various forms and manifestations is a unique benefit of Dr. Richard Jonas’ Comprehensive Surgical Management of Congenital Heart Disease – Second Edition. There is little doubt that the personal library of every aspiring or practicing congenital heart surgeon includes several multi-author textbooks. While technically a multi-author textbook (Dr. Jonas has carefully and thoughtfully brought to the reader the benefit of the unique knowledge and expertise of some of his closest associates), it is in reality a product of Dr. Jonas’ own singular experience and his commitment and enormous effort to share his wealth of knowledge, insight, and wisdom with others – all in the interest of helping to optimize the care of patients with congenital heart disease.

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