Preface

This popular book is designed for every doctor who deals with neurological emergencies. Each chapter reviews current management and the evidence for its efficacy, and concludes with a brief summary of recommendations that should be a useful aide-mémoire in an emergency.

The fourth edition of the book, which was first published as a series in 1993 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, has been thoroughly revised and based on the latest evidence. The first-time reader will find succinct reviews of the pathogenesis and especially management of all the common neurological emergencies. "Neurological" is used in the broadest sense to include neurosurgery (head injury, compression, subarachnoid haemorrhage, raised intracranial pressure), psychiatry (delirium, acute behaviour disturbances), neuro-ophthalmology (acute visual failure), infectious disease (cerebral infections), and intensive care (acute neuromuscular respiratory paralysis). Old lags can quickly bring themselves up to date because each chapter has taken advantage of the increasing collection of relevant Cochrane reviews to provide the best evidence on which to base practice. Are you confident that you know the latest guidelines for head injury, raised intracranial pressure and acute spinal cord compression, the best antibiotics for meningitis, and the best antiepileptic drug regimen for status epilepticus?

Although a book like this is inevitably targeted at the doctor in training, especially residents in internal medicine, accident and emergency medicine, and neurology (including neurosurgery and psychiatry), we are all perpetual students of medicine. We hope therefore that this work will help the whole profession improve the care of neurological patients when they most need it, in an emergency.

We regret to report the death of Dr Martin Wood shortly after submitting the fine chapter on cerebral infections, of which he was co-author.

RAC Hughes

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