Recommended reading



The Primer

·      Written by former chief examiner Mark Reeves

·      Make sure this is the first thing you read


·      Downloadable computer programme by Frank Sun

·      Worth the money

·      Compiles all ANZCA Primary SAQs in living memory, along with examiners' reports and multiple sets of answers

·      Many other resources too

Part One

·      Written and freely shared by Jake Barlow

·      Concise summary of the entire curriculum and pharmacopoiea

·      Reader-friendly, well-organised, exam-orientated

Prizewinner’s perspective

·      2019A: Andrew Burch

·      2019B: Nathaniel Hiscock

·      2020B: Boris Waldman


Textbooks - cover to cover:

Power & Kam

Principles of Physiology for the Anaesthetist


Best chapters:

·      Physiology of Excitable Cells

·      Cardiovascular Physiology

·      Physiology of Blood

·      Maternal and Neonatal Physiology

Skim the minor chapters:

·      GIT

·      Endocrinology

·      Immunity

·      (Etc)

Peck & Hill

Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care

·      Not enough on its own

·      Can skim all of part one except pharmacokinetics


Respiratory Physiology

·      I read it more than once


Textbooks – selected chapters

Hemmings & Egan

Pharmacology and Physiology for Anaesthesia

(mostly I just liked these chapters, they’re not essential)

·      Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Principles for Intravenous anaesthetics (unbeatable)

·      Pharmacokinetics of Inhaled Anaesthetics

·      Pharmacodynamic Drug Interactions

·      Pharmacology of Inhaled Anaesthetics

·      Nociceptive Physiology


Miller’s Anesthesia

·      Spinal, Epidural and Caudal Anaesthesia

(mostly I just liked these chapters, they’re not essential)

·      Consciousness, Memory and Anaesthesia

·      Monitoring Brain State During General Anaesthesia and Sedation

·      Cerebral Physiology and the Effect of Anaesthetic drugs


Nunn’s Applied Respiratory Physiology

·      Summary section at the end of each chapter

·      Elastic forces and lung volumes

·      Anaesthesia

Pappano & Weir

Cardiovascular Physiology

·      Control of Cardiac Output

·      Summary section at the end of each chapter

Evers, Maze & Kharasch

Anaesthetic Pharmacology

(mostly I just liked this chapter, it’s not essential)

·      Pharmacokinetics of Opioids


Pharmacology and Physiology in Anaesthetic Practice

·      Local Anaesthetics


Pharmacology for the ANZCA Primary Exam

·      Concise pharmacology revision

·      Useful to fill in little gaps (e.g. insulin, anti-septics)

·      Jake Barlow’s pharmacopoeia is a good substitute


Equipment in Anaesthesia and Critical Care

·      Read only the sections you consider relevant

·      I can’t compare it to other equipment texts, but it was good enough for me


Meaurement and Monitoring in Anaesthesia

·      This book has longer but more complete explanations



Critical care resources

Google any topic along with the following search terms:

·      LITFL

·      BJA education

·      Deranged Physiology

Primary daily LO’s

·      An unofficial website run by several primary examiners

·      It will task you with excellent and interesting questions

·      Answers can be difficult to track down

Kerry Brandis

You will need almost no other resource on the following topics:

·      Acid-base physiology

·      Fluid and electrolyte physiology

Strong Medicine

·      Haemostasis

·      ABG interpretation

·      Anti-arrhythmics


·      The Biophase Concept and Intravenous Anaesthesia (Shafer)

·      The Drager Primus Anaesthetic Machine Animation

·      Diagram or Die by Adam Hollingworth

·      TIVA

·      TIVA (2)

·      Alpha stat vs pH stat

·      Cardiovascular effects of IPPV

·      Fluid and electrolytes - Deranged Physiology

·      Haemodynamic monitoring