As our knowledge of the neurosciences continues to expand, so does our ability to diagnose and treat neurological and neurosurgical disorders. The complexity of these cases necessitates critical care, evidenced by the evolution of neurocritical care units around the world. In recent years, the requirement of neurocritical care units has been underlined by the improved outcomes of patients admitted to them. In establishing these units, the concept of neurocritical care as a recognized subspecialty of critical care medicine has been realized.
There are many attractions to the subspecialty; the breadth and complexity of the clinical problems that present are both interesting and intellectually challenging. The ability to use advanced technology, whether it be state-of-the-art imaging or neuromonitoring techniques to help clinical decision making, and combining this with the practical diversity of the interventions available to us is both stimulating and rewarding. However, one of the greatest privileges of being part of this small clinical subspecialty is to meet and learn from fellow neurointensivists from around the world. I have been fortunate to work recently with Drs Sekhon and Griesdale, who are not only exemplary clinicians but also dedicated teachers of the specialty. It is therefore not surprising that they have produced this excellent handbook which will be an immensely useful resource not only for healthcare professionals who look after patients within neurocritical care but also for those who look after such patients in non-specialist units.