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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Willem J de Villiers, MD, PhD, MHCM (University of Kentucky College of Medicine)
Description: This clinical reference covers basic and clinical concepts in the field of digestive diseases, hepatology, and nutrition using the classic medical art illustrations of Frank H. Netter (and also Carlos A.G. Machado).
Purpose: The book attempts to integrate exquisite visual art with accessible text descriptions to deliver information effectively to healthcare students or practitioners. It is intended as a quick-reference, point-of-care guide for busy practitioners using the clear, concise, and well-loved illustrations of Frank H. Netter. Although the book serves as an excellent showcase for Netter and the other top contributing illustrators (working in the Netter style), the bulk and dated feel of the accompanying text preclude this from being a quick clinical guide. A CD-ROM accompanied the previous edition; unfortunately this is no longer the case.
Audience: Aimed at healthcare students and practitioners, the book covers the major gastrointestinal diseases and conditions, presenting information on etiology, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, management, and therapy. Integral to this presentation are 300 classic Netter illustrations. Other medical illustrators have contributed new and updated illustrations.
Features: The book is organized into 10 sections that correspond to the digestive systems and its accompanying organs. These sections have been further divided into 272 concise, disease-oriented chapters, including introductory chapters on anatomy and physiology. The book predominantly provides core and not exhaustive information. Chapters on eosinophilic esophagitis and bariatric surgery techniques and complications have been added; the other chapters are largely unchanged from the previous edition. The section on inflammatory bowel disease drug therapy contains erroneous information on the treatment of mild to moderate disease. Although the illustrations are attractively informative and the anatomy and physiology sections are useful, browsing through this offering evokes a bygone era and the art appears rather quaint.
Assessment: This publication contains superb medical art, of historical rather than current relevance, and has the feel of a coffee table book. There are significant shortcomings when it comes to the text and the ease of use, which would make it unlikely to be used in the clinic on a regular basis. It does not compare well with the numerous other gastroenterology clinic pocket books or more comprehensive volumes. However, even after all these years, the illustrations still convey a wistful air of comfort and safety. Limited changes and additions do not justify a second edition.