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This lasts 50 minutes and consists of a long case and three short cases or scenarios. During the first 10 minutes, you will have the opportunity to view clinical information related to the long case consisting of history, examination findings and investigations, e.g. ECG, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests and blood results. This is followed by 20 minutes of questioning related to this case. During the final 20 minutes, the examiners will question you on three further unrelated topics.
2. The clinical science viva
This is a 30-minute viva consisting of 4 questions on applied pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and physics. This viva is not within the scope of this book.
An approach to revision for the clinical vivas
The period between the written paper and viva examination is a stressful time. For the first 2 weeks you do not even know if you have a viva. This makes it difficult to find the motivation to carry on working until the results are posted. The last thing you want to do is continue the cold, factual learning that has made your life such a misery over the last few weeks. You want to go to the pub instead! However, if you are ‘invited’ to attend for the vivas, you will find yourself wishing you had worked solidly for the 2 weeks since the written paper! What is needed is a change of tack in order to sustain the flagging momentum.
Welcome to the second edition of The Clinical Anaesthesia Viva Book. We are extremely grateful for all the positive feedback that we received for the first edition, both from candidates for the FRCA and from examiners and consultant colleagues. We actually set about writing a ‘Book 2’ several months ago and two things became apparent. Firstly, was the fact that the first book needed some updating, especially with regard to some aspects of peri-operative care; examples of this are investigation of high-risk patients for non-cardiac surgery and the recommendations for peri-operative beta-blockade. Secondly, after questioning the current batch of trainees about what they had been asked in their clinical vivas, it became clear that while there were some new questions, they weren't in abundance. This is good news if you are about to take the exam and reaffirms a point we made in the first edition – there aren't many ‘new’ diseases, just patients still suffering from bad hearts, bad chests and difficult airways that need anaesthesia! The clinical problems remain very much the same, and this explains why it can't be an easy job to write new questions for the exam! For these reasons we decided to add to, and update, the first book.
Having been consultants for 5 years or so now, the three of us felt a bit more distanced from the exam than we did when we wrote the first edition.
The second edition of the hugely popular The Clinical Anaesthesia Viva Book builds on the success of the first by providing a thorough review of short and long case questions typically given to Final FRCA viva candidates. An introductory chapter gives invaluable practical advice on preparation for the viva. This is followed by almost 100 short cases and 25 long cases, all based on viva questions posed at recent examinations. Answers have been constructed from a combination of popular textbooks, recent publications and the extensive practical experience of the authors. Short further reading lists are provided for more in-depth preparation. Written by a team of expert consultants and senior trainees with (successful!) experience of the Final FRCA, this second edition of The Clinical Anaesthesia Viva Book, is a must-have for anyone preparing for the Final FRCA viva.
When faced with a chest X-ray in the heat of the examination, it is vital to have a system of interpretation and presentation, particularly if the diagnosis does not jump out at you.
It is always difficult to know whether to present an X-ray starting with the diagnosis and following up with the supporting findings, or whether to use your system to present the findings and then reach a diagnosis.
For example: ‘This chest X-ray shows the features of mitral stenosis which are…’ or ‘There is a double heart border and calcification… These features suggest a diagnosis of mitral stenosis.’
In the Long Case you will have had a chance to view the chest X-ray and can therefore be more confident mentioning a diagnosis first. If the abnormality or diagnosis is ‘barn-door’ (e.g. large, cavitating lesion), then the examiners may not be impressed if you take 5 minutes to mention it! In the Short Cases you may be given chest X-rays that are more of a ‘spot diagnosis’ (such as pneumothorax) and you should try to mention the gross abnormality first. You should then use your system to make sure you do not miss other abnormalities (such as a bilateral pneumothorax!). Other chest X-rays may be more subtle (such as features of cardiac failure) and these may be better dealt with by using the systematic approach.