Essential reading for intensive care equipment and procedures

The objective of this small collection of links and recommendations is to shield the CICM Second Part Exam candidates against a wide range of possible written and viva questions about a diverse range of what can only be described as practical and pragmatic topics. Unlike the evidence-dense subjects like cardiology or neurosurgery, there are not a lot of trial acronyms to memorise here. Instead one should create an inventory of commonly used devices and be familiar with the principles of their use.

The headings which one should use, to borrow from Foot et al, are:

  • Description
  • Uses/indications
  • Method of insertion/use
  • Complications
  • Safety features

This is one of those few situation where a book can be recommended for this exam, as equipment in critical care tends to be stable and solid against the flowing current of evidence-based medicine:

  • Dorsch and Dorsch's Understanding Anaesthesia Equipment of any edition would therefore still be relevant, as the most important modification we have made to the endotracheal tube in the last hundred years was to add a cuff.
  • The time-poor candidate should also get a hold of "Examination Intensive Care Medicine, 2nd Edition" by Carole Foot et al. The hard copy of this book had with a DVD which contains detailed information on the routinely used ICU equipment, all presented in an easily digested format. This is the best resource for detailed short-form notes on equipment and procedures. Unfortunately the reader would also have to visit an antiques dealer to get a DVD reader, as the commercially available ebook does not seem to have a modernised version of this resource (though the illegally available pirated PDF version does). 
  • Emergency Procedures is an online resource as well as a mobile app, available also on all the major mobile platforms, and which contains excellent videos for people who learn best through watching
  • Falter's Bedside Procedures in the ICU (2012) is somehow available as a free full-text book from, bless 'em.