Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert D. Steiner, MD, FAAP, FACMG (Oregon Health and Science University)
Description: This impressive collection of reviews on diseases in children has a unique emphasis on laboratory evaluation. I know of no similar books that review pediatrics while emphasizing laboratory testing. For that reason alone, this is a valuable resource.
Purpose: Although not expressed very clearly, the purpose of this book seems to be to guide clinicians through the process of the laboratory evaluation of sick children. The editors, for the most part, meet their objectives.
Audience: This book is written for clinicians caring for children. The text is an excellent resource for medical students, residents, and laboratorians. Laboratory directors who lack a clinical background would especially appreciate this book as a ready reference of pediatrics, written with a laboratory testing slant. The authors in the areas I know bestcalcium and mineral metabolism, inborn errors of metabolism, and lipoprotein disordersare well recognized and respected authorities in their fields.
Features: Most categories of diseases in children are covered. Each chapter, with a few exceptions, is really a comprehensive review of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of diseases in children with an emphasis on laboratory testing. The inborn errors of metabolism and lipid disorders chapters are well written, concise, and nicely illustrated with tables and figures. The first chapter is an overview of laboratory testing in children. Throughout the text, excellent use is made of tables of differential diagnosis and reference ranges for results. There are some notable omissions in the text, and the chapters are not all-inclusive reviews. Neuromuscular disorders and infectious diseases are almost totally overlooked as is neonatal screening. Surely a test performed on every child born in developed countries is more deserving of a chapter than porphyria.
Assessment: Overall, I found this to be an excellent book, after I figured out its purpose. The title suggests a text on inborn errors of metabolismwrong. The editors' and many contributors' backgrounds suggest a clinical chemistry textbookwrong again. Molecular genetic testing is revolutionizing medical genetics, infectious diseases, oncology and other fields. If DNA testing is given broader treatment in the next edition, every pediatrician will need this book. It has the features of several books, namely Scriver's The Metabolic and Molecular Basis of Inherited Disease (McGraw-Hill, 1995), Berhman's Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics, 3rd Edition (WB Saunders, 1998), Johnson's Oski's Essential Pediatrics (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1997), Green's Pediatric Diagnosis: Interpretation of Symptoms and Signs in Children and Adolescents, 6th Edition (WB Saunders, 1998), and Wallach's Handbook of Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998). Notwithstanding the few shortcomings of this book, I think if there was a fire in my office, I might leave the rest of the books and grab this one.