Description: With this new addition to the ABC series (40 titles already), the authors are attempting to add to the already crowded field of nephrology books aimed at nonspecialists.
Purpose: It is intended as a quick and dependable reference for general practitioners, multidisciplinary healthcare workers, junior doctors, and students. The book is written at the level of some of these groups but is probably not detailed enough for practicing physicians. Besides a nephrology professor and consultants the contributors include a pharmacist, a pediatric nephrologist, a research and a transplant fellow, a general practitioner and a predialysis nurse, some of them working at renowned institutions in the United Kingdom.
Audience: General practitioners, multidisciplinary healthcare workers, junior doctors, and students are the intended audience.
Features: The strong point of the book is the number and quality of the illustrations (both graphical and educational) and clarity of the text. There are a limited number of references, all recent, and the index is good. Particularly good chapters are the ones that address cardiovascular complications of kidney disease (cause of most morbidity and mortality in this population), pediatric nephrology, and organizing services for people with chronic kidney disease, a very important topic in the current healthcare environment. Appendix 2 on drug prescribing in chronic kidney disease would have been more useful if it had been expanded.
Assessment: Since the authors intend this book to be consulted on a daily basis, a handbook format would have been more appropriate. Even taking into account the fact that the book is titled ABC, topics are probably covered too summarily and a good number of topics are not addressed. For example, tubulointerstitial diseases, glomerulonephritides, diabetes and other systemic diseases, the effects of toxins, obstructive diseases, and tumors are not included. Some of the comparable books would be: Oxford Handbook of Nephrology and Hypertension, Steddon et al. (Oxford University Press, 2006), The Washington Manual Nephrology Subspecialty Consult, Agha et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004), Manual of Nephrology, 6th edition, Schrier (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005), and Nephrology in 30 Days, Reilly et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2005). The first two are part of a series (like this book), and the first three are coat pocket books (unlike the ABC). In a side by side comparison, I would consider them probably better options than ABC of Kidney Disease.