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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael R. Lawson, MD (University of Kansas School of Medicine)
Description: This is the second edition of a book of algorithms designed for solving common clinical problems.
Purpose: The purpose, according to the authors, is to provide an algorithm-directed method for consolidating large lists of differential diagnoses. The algorithms are based on an extensive review of the recent literature and are aimed toward diagnosis only. No information regarding treatment is supplied.
Audience: Although experienced clinicians may find useful information, third- and fourth-year medical students are the primary audience. Students will find the algorithms helpful in assimilating clinical information into an organized decision-making process.
Features: The book consists of black-and-white flow diagrams with multiple decision points. Many of the decision points are accompanied by useful short summaries referenced to two common textbooks of medicine. Unfortunately, because subsequent editions of these textbooks are now available, the references may not coincide with the most current edition. This may pose a problem to those attempting to pursue more in-depth reading of some subjects.
Assessment: Medical students will find this a useful resource as they begin to struggle with the clinical decision-making process. It helps to consolidate and integrate vast amounts of information regarding differential diagnosis into a manageable and understandable format. This new edition is important because it incorporates some of the most recent advances in diagnostic techniques.