Reading List and Useful Links for CT Grade Anaesthetists

Dr Chris Leighton and Dr Mel Hearn, August 2015

Updated by Dr Felicity Miller, February 2019

Many of the recommendations below are for the exams. The Oxford Handbooks are a really helpful resource for giving you an idea about things before you start a list/speciality you've never done before as it is comprehensive and covers basic anaesthetic techniques and things to watch out for.

Recommended books:

Fundamentals of Anaesthesia (Smith and Pinnock) - Handily has the primary syllabus in the back.

Anaesthesia and Intensive Care A-Z (Yentis, Hirsh and Ip)- Very meaty but has all the FRCA subjects in one book.

Physics, Pharmacology and Physiology for Anaesthetists (Plunkett and Cross) - A 'must have', especially for the viva.

Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care (Peck and Hill)- Slightly basic in some areas so needs to be supplemented by other pharmacology textbooks.

Drugs in Anaesthesia and intensive Care (Smith and Scarth)- Very handy single page guides to all the drugs you need know.

Respiratory Physiology: - The Essentials (West) - Very focussed and no messing about!

Anatomy for Anaesthetists (Ellis and Lawson) - Painful but useful, fairly detailed but removes some of the irrelevant stuff found in most anatomical tomes.

Physics in Anaesthesia (Middleton) - Best all-round physics textbook for both parts of FRCA.

Essentials of Anaesthetic Equipment (Al-Shaikh and Stacey) - Lots of pictures and detail about all the routine equipment you need to understand, including some MCQ questions.

Oxford Handbook of Anaesthesia - Written by lots of consultants from the South West.

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care - Especially for those considering ITU longer term.

Graphic Anaesthesia (Nickells, Payne and Hooper)- Excellent for the VIVA in particular with all the essential anatomy, graphs, equations and diagrams.

Exam Specific publications:

'Primary FRCA in-a-box' flashcard set is highly recommended. Invaluable revision aid, especially for the OSCE/Viva. Really useful for fun-filled team revision sessions as well!
MCQ revision: many books available - pick the most up to date. Make sure you get something that covers SBAs (Single Best Answer) - not in some of the older publications. The official College guide has a reasonable selection of MCQs and SBAs in it.

Primary FRCA: 450 MTFs and SBAs (El-Boghdadly and Ahmad)- good for the last week before the exam as they have five full-length papers, slightly more difficult than the real thing so don’t be disheartened.

Masterpass (McCombe and Wijayasiri)- An absolute must for the VIVA. Book 1 covers physiology and physics, book 2 is slightly less user friendly but covers pharmacology, critical incidents and special patient groups. Good for asking Consultants in lists to question you from.

The Anaesthesia VIVA 1 and 2- Good range of commonly asked questions split into different subject areas with succinct model answers.

Anaesthesia OSCE (Arthurs and Elfituri)- One of the recommended core texts for OSCE stations.

Online revision:

Pastest - They do have a hefty medical slant on things, as opposed to just the hard basic sciences.

BMJ OnExamination- Questions have a slightly different slant to the actual exam but good for intense revision of knowledge. Also has a handy mobile app for revision during lists!

E-learning anaesthesia website (e-lfh) has a broad selection of questions and papers on it, including the most recent papers in the immediate run up to the exam. have a really broad scope of questions as well, although they don’t have any explanations which are useful to clarify the answers.

Dr Podcast lectures for the FRCA:  Although not cheap quite useful to listen to when you're in the car/train/walking to work/going to sleep. Also has a supplementary book ‘Dr Podcast scripts for the Primary FRCA’ which is also a really useful resource for the VIVA.

Useful Links: Royal College of Anaesthetists website for information on exams, courses and curriculum to prepare for your primary exam. - Specific link to the curriculum. Very long but I would recommend it as the basis to your focussed learning. The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland with guidelines that keep us safe at work. Many exam questions are based around knowing these inside out eg. checking an anaesthetic machine, management of anaesthetic emergencies such as anaphylaxis and LA toxicity. Difficult Airway Society website.  All the algorithms for difficult airways. Exam prep website, has useful articles on most FRCA topics, as well as a good bank of MCQ questions. - Very useful when starting revision as an online alternative to textbooks. Huge range of very well written modules. - For intensive care based supplementary learning. - Algorithms useful for work and exams.