Introduction, FAQ, Sponsorship


Goals and origins

The Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook is a collaborative project involving many individuals around the globe. Its goal is to create and maintain, using a familiar ‘textbook’ style, a comprehensive set of links to all known anaesthesia related internet information.

The project was conceived by Chris Thompson during the April 1996 World Congress of Anaesthesia meeting in Sydney, Australia.

Soon after, the first Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook, with the familiar ‘textbook’ style ‘Chapter’ layout, was on-line. The task of locating and organising all the content on the web was too much for any one individual, so a ‘call for help’ went out on GasNet. A few months later, an international group of Chapter Organisers had formed. Although some have left the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook, more and more chapters have been added. In 1999, about 60,000 people visited our front page.

In early 2000 a major revision resulted in the current format, followed soon after by registration of the ‘virtual-anaesthesia-textbook’ domain name and our first dedicated US server.

The Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook is still far from complete. Many chapters are yet to be done – if you can help, please contact us!

Privacy Policy

This web site does not collect e-mail addresses, cookies or other personal data from anyone visiting these pages.

Limited statistics about number of hits, domain type (edu, org, net, etc.) and country of origin of incoming web page requests may be provided to sponsors.

What are frames?

Frames are used to split the screen into several panels.

Our frame version uses the left frame for the table of contents, the right frame for the actual text, and a small frame at the bottom right for our sponsor information. It is best when used with high-resolution monitors.

If you don’t like to use frames, then try the no-frames version, but first read the discussion on text size below, because you may be able to adjust your font size or monitor display to improve things.

Clicking on the VAT logo allows you to easily switch between framed and no-frame versions.

We can control whether a page opens the frame or by itself in a new window; if you would like your links to open this way, contact the person who is responsible for that page.

The text is too big!

These pages work best with screen resolutions set to about 1000×800 pixels. Font size should be set to ‘normal’ at 72dpi (Mac) or 75% of 96dpi (Windows).

Most computers allow you to change the font size. On the Mac, screen resolution is fixed at 72dpi; font size in the preferences section of your browser. On Windows, default screen resolution usually defaults to at 100% of 96dpi (this is found in the ‘display’ control panel). This means that the text appears larger on Windows than it does on the Mac, and consequently many Windows users may find that that the font is too big. If you change the setting to 75% of 96dpi, then you will optimise screen display, however the fonts will get smaller and they might become hard to read, particularly with small or low quality monitors. The best solution is to set 75% of 96dpi and have a good quality 17 inch monitor or a TFT screen.

If, however, you have difficulty reading small text, or use an 800×600 monitor, the frame version just doesn’t work well and I recommend using the no-frames version.

Most browsers allow you to change the relative size of the text on your screen. If it is too big these pages won’t look good. You can either use the no-frames version or change the font size.

On Windows machines, go to the display control panel. If it is set to 96, try 72.

How do I get my web page listed?

We welcome suggestions for links to interesting pages!

To get your pages listed, first figure where it would best fit into the structure of the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook. Then contact the appropriate Chapter Organiser by e-mail, including the URL of your page and a brief description. The Chapter Organiser should assess your work promptly and, if it is suitable, make the link. Please then check that the link is correct and that it works properly.

Make sure that you tell the Chapter Organiser if you subsequently change your URL.

Some pointers on effective web page design:

  1. Always include your e-mail address at the bottom of the document. Be both contactable and responsive to feedback from peers.
  2. Keep your documents current, both in terms of content and relevance.
  3. If you link to other pages, ensure that the links work.
  4. Never force a user to download graphics – provide text alternatives.
  5. Don’t make your pages too big or too small.

The Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook team don’t write web pages, convert documents or put them on the web for other people. If you are interested in learning how to write web pages, contact a local internet service provider or a colleague who knows how.


The Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook has a global readership that is growing rapidly. Soon it will be greater than any printed text journal.

Sponsorship opportunities exist at three levels:

  1. The main sponsor of the VAT is permitted a banner at the bottom of the main home page, with links from this to any acceptable sites. Introductory text on the first page includes links to any current items of interest on their site. These links are decided by the Co-ordinator of the VAT project.
  2. An advertising panel is maintained by John Loadsman. This consists of a graphic that can link to a web site.
  3. Individual chapters may be sponsored by arrangement with the chapter organiser. Sponsors are entitled to a banner advertisement at the top of the page.

Sponsorship of a chapter is a great way to get a message directly to an specific audience.

We do not permit intrusive banner advertisements. All advertisements should be informative and must not imply therapeutic advantage.

Sponsors are not permitted to influence editorial or other content.

Sponsored or paid links are not permitted.

Advertisments are either separate graphics unrelated to the content of the page or indicated by the text ‘advertisment’ within or in close proximity to the advertisment.

For further information, please review our Sponsorship and Advertising page.

Who does what?

The author of any Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook-referenced document is entirely responsible for its content, and the accuracy and currency of any information contained therein. Members of the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook project have absolutely no responsibility for the content of any linked pages (except their own).

Documents linked via the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook have already been placed on the internet by their authors (or publishers) for the benefit of the wider anaesthesia community.

If you have written web pages, and you would like to have them listed in the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook, please make sure that they comply with the HON Code of Conduct and refer to the Peer Review section. Feel free to contact the relevant Chapter Organiser for advice.

Each ‘Chapter’ of links is maintained by a ‘Chapter Organiser’ (CO), a volunteer who is responsible for the creation, maintenance and annotation of the links. Please contact the relevant CO if you know of a page that you think should be a part of the chapter, if you have something to contribute, or if there are typographical errors, omissions, or outdated links or other problems with their page. CO’s will endeavour to reply promptly to your queries, but (like all of us) have lots of other things to do, so be patient.

Overall responsibility for the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook rests with the Chairman of the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook administrative committee, currently Chris Thompson. The administrative committee comprises all CO’s and (from time to time) other experts in the field. Decisions affecting the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook are usually reached by consensus following discussions amongst committee members. At present the composition of the committee of management and the way in which it will operate are in the process of being formulated. Any complaints about the conduct of a CO in their role with the VAT should first be privately discussed with them, however, if it cannot be resolved, then it may be brought to the attention of the Chairman of the VAT committee, who will deal with as he or she sees fit.

Peer-Review Policies

The option of peer review will be available to all VAT contributors and chapter organisers. Because of the nature of the WWW and of the VAT itself, peer review will not be a requirement for inclusion at the present time.

Items may be submitted for peer review either by the CO or by the author. If the CO is submitting the article, s/he should inform the author of this fact. When a submission is received (in the form of a URL), an acknowledgement will be sent to the author and CO. The editorial board will review the article, and either accept it, reject it, or recommend changes. The decision of the board, along with any requested revisions, will be emailed to CO and author. When the article is accepted, both the CO and author may add a small graphic to the article and the link from the VAT chapter.

Chapter Organisers – Roles and Responsibilities

1. The CO is responsible for browsing or searching the net, finding all pages that are relevant to the Chapter and then listing and annotating them into a coherent, easily read web page or pages. They are required to ensure that all links are relevant, current, and ‘live’. It is expected that once a CO receives notification of a new URL from a user, Chapter updating should occur, in general, within one month.

2. URL’s in any given Chapter are to be relevant, sensibly organised and briefly annotated as to content and style. The Chapter and all links should, where possible, comply with the HON Code of Conduct. They should link to full-text English-language resources at a level suitable for the practising anesthesiologist. Pages which are better suited to the general public, patients, medical students or anaesthesia trainees, and those in the style of protocols, ‘point form’ notes, ‘study notes’ or in non-English languages, should be annotated as such.

3. Chapters are to be structured in a standardised format, as defined by a consensus decision of the VAT committee. All headings and typefaces are to be consistent with the agreed format; a good idea is to start with this template for an unsponsored page. except for links to the counter, which should be an absolute link to a counter maintained at the parent site in Australia.

4. All Chapters are automatically mirrored in Australia, the United States and in Europe. Chapter Organisers should ensure that all links to non-mirrored pages are absolute (the only exceptions are mirrored links to main VAT Chapter pages and the logo link, which should be local, so that once a user has entered a mirror site they will remain within that site when moving from one chapter to another).

5. The ‘hit counter’, needs to exist in only one place in the world so that it will increment once regardless of which mirror site it exists on. Hence the link to the counter needs to be absolute. This link must be customised for each page to include the URL of the page. Please see the template for more information on how to do this.

6. No graphics are permitted on Chapter page/s except the VAT logo, the VAT background, and sponsorship information (as detailed below).

7. Only one sponsor is permitted per page. The page CO may charge the sponsor any fee they deem appropriate. Display of Sponsor information is to be unobtrusive and in no case to exceed one line of text and one small (no more than 600*60 pixels) image. The Committee of Management of the VAT may veto any Sponsor related activities that are deemed to be inappropriate. Sponsorship, in particular, should comply with the HON Code of Conduct.

8. In the event of a dispute between a CO and an author, the decision of a CO is final. The CO may not unreasonably refuse to link a page, but is under no obligation to any author to do so. Once a dispute has been referred the Committee of Management, however, the decision of the committee overrides that of any individual CO.

9. In the event that the CO fails, in the opinion of the Committee of Management, to meet their responsibilities, they will be advised of the problem and given reasonable time to fix it. Failure to comply after due time may result in removal of the link to their Chapter from the main textbook headings.

How do I become a Chapter Organiser?

If you can meet the ‘roles and responsibilities’ for Chapter Organisers, have an interest in one of the topics listed below and would like to join the VAT project, please contact the project co-ordinator.

The following topics need to be added to the Virtual Anaesthesia Textbook:

  • Mechanisms of action of anaesthetic drugs
  • Consciousness and monitoring for awareness
  • Pain and nocioception
  • Catecholamines and related drugs
  • The neuromuscular junction
  • Cardiovascular Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
  • Hepatic Physiology
  • Metabolism and Nutrition in the Perioperative Period
  • The blood: composition, haemoglobin and coagulation
  • Fluid replacement, Haemorrhage and Blood Transfusion
  • Electrical and Gas Supplies
  • Patient Monitoring
  • Infection Control Issues
  • Cardio-Respiratory Arrest and Resuscitation – the ACLS pages may help|
  • Septicaemia and Multiple Organ Failure
  • Risks, complications and consent
  • Burns and Anaesthesia
  • Chronic Pain Management
  • Inherited Disease and Anaesthesia
  • Endocrine Diseases and Anaesthesia
  • Autonomic Nervous System Blocks and applied anatomy
  • Induced Hypotension
  • Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Day-Stay Anaesthesia Issues
  • Neonatal Anaesthesia
  • Trauma and Emergencies
  • Intra-abdominal and Perineal Surgery
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Orthopaedic, Plastic and Limb



Chris Thompson – Introduction & FAQ; Medline; Educational Resources; Societies & Departments; Internet Resources; Critical Incidents;History; Pharmacology; Intravenous Agents; Volatile Agents; Muscle; Local Anaesthetics; Allergy and Anaphylaxis; Water and Acid-Base;Simulators and Software; Medical Informatics; Equipment suppliers; Pre-operative assessment;Post-operative Pain; Intubation; Local and Regional Techniques; Positioning the Patient; Poisonings, Bites and Envenomations; Obstetric Anaesthesia; Anaesthesia for the Elderly;Anaesthesia for Neurosurgery ; Anaesthesia for Cardiac surgery; Anaesthesia for ENT Surgery

Chapter organisers:

John Current – Paediatric Anaesthesia
Michael P Dosch – The Anaesthetic Machine
Peter Duffy – Hyperbarics, Altitude, Underwater and Space
John Loadsman – Advertising FAQ; Statistics; Opioid Analgesics; Non-opioid Analgesics; Respiration and Drugs; Post-operative Nausea and Vomiting, Laser Surgery
Paul Martin – Medico-legal, Personal and Professional Issues
James Mitchell – Patient Monitoring
John Current – Paediatric Anaesthesia
John Quinn – Post Anaesthesia Care Unit, Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia
Donal Shanahan – Anatomy
Pauline Wong – Veterinary Anaesthesia

ex-Chapter organisers

Tahir Akhtar – Anaesthesia for ENT and facial surgery
John Ascah – Allergy and Immunology; Pre-operative Assessment; Anaesthesia for the Elderly
Nello De Nicola Post-operative Pain Management
Rajesh P Haridas – Airway Management
Stef Olofsen – Intravenous Agents, Positioning the Patient
John Oyston – Local Anaesthetics, Local and Regional Anaesthetic Techniques
Daniel Sigg – Muscle Physiology and Disease
Michael Schneider – Obstetric Anaesthesia
Olivier Wenker – Vascular Anaesthesia

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