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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bradley Robert Ferguson, MD (University of Colorado Health Sciences Center)
Description: This second edition provides an introductory approach to emergency department radiographs. Its most unique features are the excellent use of visual aids and the focus on clinically important and often overlooked aspects of emergency plain film radiography. The original was published in 1995.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide simple and systematic approaches to the evaluation of emergency department radiographs. The book is designed primarily to assist doctors working in the emergency department. The author's stated objectives are very important as management decisions are often initiated based on initial radiographic interpretations by emergency department physicians. The book meets the author's objectives.
Audience: Although targeted at physicians working in the emergency department, the book would be helpful for a wide variety of healthcare providers including medical students, primary care physicians, emergency medicine and first year radiology residents. The authors are credible authorities.
Features: The book covers an overall approach to plain film radiographs and normal anatomy as well as pathologies that are commonly encountered in an emergency department. This includes basic radiographic principles as well as musculoskeletal, chest, abdomen and pediatric radiographs. The book excels in three areas. First, it does an excellent job of discussing normal anatomy and normal variants. Key subtle anatomic relationships are often overlooked by those training to interpret radiographs. Second, the book makes excellent use of illustrations to explain key concepts not always evident on the radiographs. Third, the book focuses not only on the most frequently encountered (and occasionally overlooked) emergency radiographic pathologies, it also provides "key points" and "subtle signs not to miss" at the end of every chapter. The only shortcoming is that, particularly in the U.S., many acute pathologies are now evaluated primarily with CT. This is particularly relevant when discussing skull and facial trauma. In fairness to the authors, however, head and facial trauma CT images are typically not available to emergency department physicians for review and require interpretation by a radiologist.
Assessment: Overall, the book is an easy read and it provides a concise, practical and simple approach to emergency department radiographs without omitting important concepts and subtleties. This book would be useful to anyone responsible for making management decisions based on the preliminary interpretation of radiographs, including first year radiology residents, emergency medicine residents, primary care physicians, and medical students. Compared to the commonly used text reference, Radiology of Emergency Medicine by Harris and Harris (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000), this pocket guide covers about 90 percent of the plain film pathologies in a format that is practical to read cover to cover within a reasonable period of time. This is the most useful emergency radiography pocket book I have seen.