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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Deborah Jane Lenschow, MD, PhD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This book provides primary care physicians with an easy guide to the diagnosis and management of common arthritic and rheumatological diseases that are likely to be encountered during their daily practice.
Purpose: The authors' goals are to provide primary care physicians with a resource which provides easily accessible and clinically relevant information on regional pain syndromes, autoimmune diseases, degenerative disorders, and infectious arthropathies. They created this resource to assist physicians with understanding the exciting scientific advances which have been made in the field of rheumatology.
Audience: This book is written for the primary care physician who is increasingly being asked to make the initial diagnosis, and at times care for patients with a variety of arthritic or rheumatological conditions. The editors have selected a panel of respected specialists in the field of rheumatology to contribute to this primer.
Features: This primer is divided into five distinct sections covering sports-related and occupational injuries, rheumatic diseases, osteoarthritis and metabolic bone disease, infectious arthritis, and therapeutics. The chapters are uniformly arranged to provide readers with easy access to information on a given topic. Illustrations, in particular the X-rays, provide the clinician with relevant information for making the correct diagnosis. A limited number of color plates are also provided to demonstrate the various dermatological manifestations of rheumatic disorders. Although this primer is meant to be a concise review of rheumatology, a few areas are not adequately covered. There is minimal discussion on anti-phospolipid antibody syndrome which often affects patients with a variety of rheumatologic conditions. Furthermore, unlike the other chapters in this primer which at least provided basic information on treatment, the chapter covering rheumatoid arthritis (RA) contains no discussion on the treatment options for RA, including the initial treatments which are often initiated by primary care physicians. While the final section on therapeutics provides information on the various medications used for the treatment of rheumatic diseases, including RA, it does not clearly outline the treatment rationale for RA. This goes against the stated goals of the authors to provide the primary care physician with easy access to the necessary information. Given the prevalence of RA, this is an important oversight.
Assessment: This book does not provide the same degree of detail, in particular on treatments, as the Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases, 12th edition, by Klippel et al. (Arthritis Foundation, 2001). However, the authors have designed this primer for the "busy physician seeking an active tool in primary care," and have not targeted practicing rheumatologists. This book does provide primary care physicians with a useful resource to assist with the diagnosis of rheumatologic disorders.