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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Akhilesh Sharma, MBBS, MD (Creighton University)
Description: This is a review of topics in infectious diseases from the standpoint of an emergency department physician.
Purpose: According to the author, the purpose is to provide emergency department physicians with a practical reference that can easily be used on the job. These are worthy objectives, since emergency room physicians need to be able to triage patients properly based not only on the acuity of situation, but also on the infectious cause in order to be able to immediately start management and institute contact precautions. The book satisfies most of these worthwhile goals, while remaining easy to read.
Audience: It is intended for emergency room physicians, but house staff, medical students and other healthcare professionals who take care of patients in an emergency department setting would also benefit. In addition to the three main authors, a large number of contributors have authored various chapters. These authors bring a lot of expertise to their chapters and provide good information, although it results in a book with a variety of writing styles. That is not necessarily a negative factor, as a book like this is not usually read in one setting.
Features: The book covers a variety of cases and patients seen in an emergency room setting like CNS infections, lung infections, rashes, viral exanthems, UTI, deep tissue infections, endocarditis, hepatobiliary infections, skin soft tissue, bone and joint infections, and HIV. It also includes chapters dealing with hot topics like bioterrorism, emerging infections, occupational exposures, travel infections, etc. The best part of the book is the variety of topics it covers while managing to provide a concise review, most of the time in 4 to 6 pages. Many helpful tables, flow charts, and illustrations deal with management or differential diagnosis of various presentations. The book also includes a lot of illustrations though most are not color, and thus difficult to see, and the 51 color images in the middle of the book are not associated with particular chapters. The book does not claim to be a reference book for infectious diseases, thus infectious disease practitioners will not benefit from the book. People looking for detailed information on a certain infectious disease topic will not be satisfied. The lack of color pictures of clinical signs and rashes is a drawback.
Assessment: This book is very good in covering a vast variety of topics in infectious diseases from the viewpoint of an emergency room physician. It provides a quick and easy reference guide, tables on management and, best of all, descriptions of various cases to help educate. However, although the book is targeted to emergency department physicians and students, it still competes with a host of internal medicine textbooks including Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 45th edition, Tierney et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2006), Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th edition, Kasper et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2005), Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 22nd edition, Goldman and Ausiello (Elsevier, 2004), and The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics, 31st edition, Green and Harris (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004), to name a few. All of these books, with exception of the Washington Manual, are more complete sources of information on the same topics. Thus, this book offers a lot of information which is already covered in other internal medicine texts, but manages to differentiate itself by focusing exclusively on infectious disease topics and using case histories.