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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This book focuses on the correct performance of the medical interview (history) and physical examination of patients. Several noteworthy aspects of the book include the exceptionally descriptive pictures, adequate space for personal notes, the inclusion of very helpful "Important Presenting Patterns" sections in chapters, a very basic procedures chapter, and very basic electrocardiographic and radiologic chapters. The style is distinctly British.
Purpose: The authors state the need for a comprehensive text for junior physicians. The format serves exceptionally well as a pocket-reference that is easy to access to refresh the memory and to remember specific points regarding a specific organ system.
Audience: The book is written primarily for medical students and residents. However, it is also a very good summary for practitioners when they are looking for a specific reminder while performing an uncommon physical examination. Although written for a British medical audience, it easily can be used by all.
Features: Categorized by organ systems, a brief review of the pertinent anatomy and physiology is followed by the significant/characteristic symptoms that might be encountered. The associated physical findings that should be looked for are described extremely well, supported by excellent color photographs and illustrations. Finally, one of the best features of each chapter, the "Important Presenting Patterns" section, greatly enhances understanding. In keeping with the focus on junior physicians, there is a concise, yet quite complete chapter on electrocardiographic analysis, and a basic one on reading radiographs. The page size does not lend itself to very detailed reproduction of the x-rays, but it does have merit for house officers who are looking only for the basics.
Assessment: The simple organization of the organ systems, the pertinent historical cues a practitioner should be looking for, the completeness of the description of the physical findings, supported by the excellent graphics, makes this one of the best texts on physical examination available. I highly recommend this book to medical educators, medical students, residents, and attendings. There is much to be learned by those at all levels of training from this well organized, well written book.