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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This handy and concise aide-memoire essentially presents symptoms and diagnoses, providing differential diagnosis possibilities and the tests to make the diagnosis. It assumes readers have a basic knowledge of the language and physiology, but its strength is helping clinicians remember to include the "zebras" in their differential, as well as be able to exclude them when appropriate.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to explain how to use a history, physical examination, and preliminary test to form a diagnosis. The authors have done very well, while keeping the information concise.
Audience: The book is valuable for every level of clinician, from student through attending. The authors are recognized experts.
Features: The tabular format is a tremendous strength, making all the pertinent information readily apparent. There are no references, nor would they be expected in this type of book, but the index is uniquely helpful. Another nice touch is an extensive section in the beginning explaining how to use the book and a section called the "Transparent Diagnosis." Some areas could use photographs, such as the sections on "Terry's lines" on the fingernails and the anterior uveitis. However, the book assumes readers are fairly familiar with these.
Assessment: I can only rave about this small, incredibly useful book that easily fits in a lab coat pocket and has a library worth of information. It is a very worthwhile addition to every clinician's library.