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From The CriticsReviewer: Sammy Khatib, MD(Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: The editors got it half right in terms of meeting their goals with this book. It is a significant contribution to the field of ECG books, because it is unique in the depth of information it presents. It does not, however, meet its goal of teaching or providing an easy reference to the basics of ECG.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is two-fold. It aims to go over both the basics of ECG, as well as to discuss more advanced topics in the analysis of ECG, i.e., at the level of the practicing cardiologist (although in the preface it claims to be for people all the way down to "gifted medical students"). The book is meant to be useful as both a quick and easy reference, as well as for in-depth analysis of more complicated scenarios. These are worthy objectives, and if met, would be a significant contribution to the field. The book does a fine job of meeting its objective of going over detailed, more specific clinical electrocardiographic scenarios (e.g., interatrial delayed conduction vs. left atrial hypertrophy). The format used, with the easy referencing in the index, allows for quick reference as well as more in-depth discussions. However, neither the discussions nor the quick reference tables/figures for the "basics" (i.e., what was left atrial abnormality on an ECG) are quite clear.
Audience: According to the author, this book is meant for "cardiologists, internists, general practitioners and for especially gifted and interested students." I believe this book is appropriate primarily for cardiologists and, perhaps, especially gifted and interested internists. The author is a credible authority.
Features: The book covers the whole gamut of ECGs, from the basics of arrhythmia to pacemaker mediated arrhythmias or malfunctions, from LVH to ECGs in congenital diseases. The best feature of the book is the format that allows for quick referencing of particular scenarios. For instance, if one is interested in the diagnosis of LVH in the setting of RVH or LAFB, the index directs the reader to the relevant pages, which then give a good detailed analysis of this scenario. In terms of shortcomings, the book presents the basics of ECG in a way that would leave many people a bit confused. This book would not be a good reference guide for basic bread-and-butter ECGs.
Assessment: I would be happy to have this book in my medical library. It is a unique contribution to the study of ECG's, in terms of its analysis of particular clinical scenarios with great formatting that allows easy access to the information one wants. In this regard, it is quite useful. I would definitely not use this book as a reference for basic ECG questions (i.e., reviewing the criteria for LVH); other books such as Marriott's Practical Electrocardiography, by Wagner et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2001), and even O'Keefe's The Complete Guide to ECGS: A Comprehensive Study Guide to Improve ECG Interpretation Skills (Physicians Press, 1997) better serve this purpose.