Paradoxically, our information age has flooded us with an unprecedented volume of medical information (the proverbial “drinking from a firehose”), yet clarity and wisdom still seem as rare as a desert oasis. This long-awaited second edition of the Johns Hopkins Textbook of Cardiothoracic Surgery is an arrival welcomed by all surgeons in our specialty, from the novice to the seasoned, who are thirsty for the insight and perspective vested in each chapter. The subtle title change from “manual” to “textbook” belies the substantial additions and enhancements that mark the second edition, including new chapters and authors, key concepts, color accenting, and expanded bibliographies. This work takes its place as one of the most comprehensive yet readable books on the subject and is the best example I know to support the argument that the printed textbook is alive and well, and in great demand.
Although born at Hopkins under Dr Yuh's leadership while he was on our faculty, the project has grown to include experts from many institutions, which parallels the collaborative and information-sharing spirit of our profession. This is particularly so with cardiothoracic surgeons, who delight over sketches of operations drawn on dinnertime napkins and who earn deep satisfaction from warning each other about pitfalls and unseen hazards of procedures and practice. David Yuh and his co-editors Luca Vricella, Steve Yang, and John Doty deserve rich praise for shepherding this effort to collect so much wisdom within a single cover.
Finally, although it may seem odd that a Hopkins book is edited by a Yale surgeon, straddling of these two great institutions by prominent physician educators has precedence in Halsted, Welch, Cushing, Gott, and Reitz, to name just a few. Indeed, three of the four cardiac chiefs at Hopkins since Blalock were Yale graduates. Johns Hopkins and Yale have many similar attributes, not the least of which is a deep tradition and commitment to medical education and the training of young physicians. We are remembered best by the lives we touch, those of our patients and our students.
Duke E. Cameron, MD
The Johns Hopkins Hospital