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From The CriticsReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This update to a beginning textbook in medicine primarily for British practitioners contains guidelines from the British literature which are somewhat different from American guidelines. Previous editions were published in 1997 and 2002.
Purpose: This book challenges readers to engage in a self-assessment in their preparation for clinical examinations. The authors point out that this is not a syllabus, but a book of must-know facts and approaches to clinical problems commonly encountered in practice. As there are numerous books with this purpose in mind, this offers additional scenarios, with probing extended matching questions (EMQ) and objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) situations that provoke thought and reflection, true to the self-assessment goal.
Audience: Students and new practitioners are the intended audience. While there may be interest from those in active practice, the scenarios are fairly rudimentary and clear-cut, offering little challenge for those with experience. The authors are credible authorities as professors of medicine and they have clearly structured the cases for the inexperienced, consistent with their stated aims.
Features: Each section has learning objectives, which are well stated and held to, case studies, and review of the basic anatomy and physiology. Numerous idealized illustrations are clear and easy to understand. Of particular note, the electrocardiogram tracings are very illustrative of the intended purpose and the reproductions are very good considering the size of the pictures. The figures summarizing some therapeutic considerations seem to convey dated ideas, such as in the treatment of heart failure where digoxin was included before beta-blockade medications, but they are generally helpful. There are some omissions, such as the metabolic syndrome which is a frequent occurrence in the outpatient office practice, but that may be because there is not much in the examinations pertaining to this.
Assessment: This is one of a number of rudimentary books in medicine, and as it presents new and different scenarios not in other books, it does serve a purpose. Understandably, it will be necessary to publish newer additions as the practice of medicine continues to evolve.