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From The CriticsReviewer: Alvaro Koch, MD(University of Kentucky College of Medicine)
Description: Two things are unique about this encyclopedic book. First, the large amount of high quality colored figures and pictures, most of them from Dr. Kuntz's personal collection, make the book a hepatology atlas, too. Second, the historical notes presented in almost every chapter make it very entertaining for those who like to know how things got started. Numerous color tables, algorithms, and text boxes provide a great deal of information, simplifying the material and facilitating understanding. Both this and the first edition of 2002 list as coauthors the current author E. Kuntz and his son H-D. Kuntz, who died unexpectedly during the preparation of the first edition.
Purpose: The purpose is not clearly stated in either of the editions. I would say that the initial purpose of the book was to make available to the medical community the vast amount of experience and information collected by the author during a lifelong practice of hepatology; therefore, the book represents the culmination of a professional career. The second edition is an act of love to his son and the medical profession. Is the book needed? Probably not, considering the large amount of excellent multiauthored hepatology texts now available. However, the book presents the information in a very attractive way making it easy to read, especially for beginners.
Audience: It "is intended to serve as a teaching manual, a textbook, and a reference book — for use in the doctor's surgery, in daily clinical practice, and in the specialist fields associated with hepatology." The book is a good starting point for those interested in the field. It can be very helpful for medical students and trainees. The excellent pictorial material and tables make this a good source for teachers and speakers. It is not a book intended for hepatologists, except for those who would like to add some of the history of hepatology to their libraries. Is the author an authority in the field? A search in Medline retrieved 73 articles, 65 of them authored by Dr. Kuntz. The great majority of the articles, if not all of them, are written in German. The last published article was in 1990.
Features: The book covers almost all areas within the vast spectrum of liver diseases, from the evaluation of the liver patient and management of complications of cirrhosis to vascular diseases involving the liver, hepatopulmonary syndrome, and liver transplantation. A very brief mention of portopulmonary syndrome is made. The best feature of this book is the color material that it contains. The way the book is written made me remember some of my teachers in medical school emphasizing, for example, the use of proper terminology and making frequent use of exclamation points.
Assessment: It is very ambitious to write a single author book in a field as vast as hepatology that will please everybody. You will certainly leave some things out and emphasize others, according to your own experience. In this second edition, the author incorporated and corrected some of the areas that where criticized in the first edition. Overall, the book is good and educative. It may be the replacement for the classic textbook written by the late Dame Sheila Sherlock, Diseases of the Liver and Biliary System, 11th edition (Blackwell Publishing, 2001) but certainly without the same authority.