Shields’ General Thoracic Surgery 8th Edition
In the foreword to the first edition of General Thoracic Surgery published in 1972, Paul Samson noted that Shields published a text dedicated to the General Thoracic Surgeon to the exclusion of the heart. That occurred at a time when the “romance and appeal which have attended the astounding developments in the surgical treatment of cardiac disease” was skyrocketing.
During the next 40 years of cardiac surgical dominance on the international stage, Shields’ book remained focused on the diseases of the lungs, esophagus, chest wall, diaphragm, and mediastinum. The first text, penned by 58 specialists, was encyclopedic in scope and depth. Students and practitioners of this specialty needed no other book. Through its many editions, it carried the same thorough approach and served as the de facto bible of the specialty.
Over the decades, other books, atlases, and manuals on General Thoracic Surgery have come and gone, but this book has remained the only comprehensive text in continuous publication for the practitioner of thoracic diseases, excluding the heart and great arteries.
In the current digital age, seekers of knowledge no longer rely solely on the static text. They often begin their search for information by scouring the Internet for a variety of media for articles, videos, meeting reports, videos and other tidbits to understand the nuances of a particular disease or procedure. While more dynamic than searching the texts of old, these searches often are hampered by search terms, are disorganized, narrow in scope, and evanescent.
Now, 45 years after the first publication, this edition of Shields’ General Thoracic Surgery is written by over 150 specialists. It has shed its encyclopedic tradition while maintaining its completeness. It includes dynamic audio and visual content, color coordinated graphics, and analyses of the world’s literature and electronic data for the most extensive and concise collection of information for the busy clinician.
For the first time, the edition includes a retrospective into the past with particular attention to the milestones of artificial ventilation and the era of minimal invasion, both of which revolutionized the century-old specialty. It also addresses new topics such as deciphering complex statistical analyses, using efficiently the new World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), mining big data sets for specific decision making, and developing and performing effective quality improvement projects for the surgeon’s practice and hospital setting.
Long-time users of Shields will enjoy the continued comprehensiveness of the chapters. Millennial practitioners will find this transformed edition less ponderous and intimidating than the tomes of the past, yet more thorough and meaningful than imprecise, often fragmented individual electronic searches.