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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Russell W Steele, M.D.(Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: The second edition of this very concise book is designed to be used in conjunction with a pediatric textbook or as a reference source for physicians who have a thorough knowledge of pediatric medicine. There is very little text; instead it consists almost entirely of tables, figures, boxes, and annotated diagrams, put together with no clear organization.
Purpose: The authors state that this book provides "a succinct, easy-to-access reference work, filling the gap between larger paediatric reference works and undergraduate books." It is supposed to particularly focus on the kind of information that appears on MRCPCH and DCH higher examinations. These are worthy objectives, but the format, with its lack of progression in the usual organized fashion, is unlikely to provide such an educational resource.
Audience: It is intended for physicians preparing for higher examinations in pediatrics, medical students, and as a quick reference for practitioners advanced in their training. However, its format might be more suitable for teachers who would likely find the tables, figures, and boxes useful for explaining pathophysiology and interpreting clinical data.
Features: All organ systems are covered, but incompletely. There are just 15 pages for all respiratory disorders, 35 pages devoted to infectious diseases, and 34 for renal disease, so obviously much is omitted. The book, by design, is concise to a fault. As an example, the chapter on cardiology (35 pages) begins with figures of the fetal circulation and cardiac cycle followed by tables and figures of heart sounds and then a figure and table of the jugular venous pulse. There is no text until seventh page and, then, as is true for the rest of the book, it is only one or two sentences. Many of the figures are inadequately explained.
Assessment: The unique nature of this book and its format make it difficult to assess its potential usefulness. All of the information is available in standard textbooks along with much more detail. What the book really offers is a snapshot of medical information which can be used to help one to remember or quiz oneself on the facts that are likely to be included on an exam. The index is excellent, so the reader can usually look up a disease or clinical entity and review the tables or figures available. This second edition has been updated and includes new chapters on ENT and ophthalmology.