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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mony Fraer, MD, FACP, FASN (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This entry in the Oxford Handbooks series complements the Oxford Handbook of Dialysis, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2004), and is more condensed reading than the Oxford Textbook of Clinical Nephrology, 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 2005). The authors are nephrologists from two well known London hospitals.
Purpose: The handbook is intended as a quick practical guide (to be carried in a lab coat) at the bedside or in the office with 1-2 pages devoted to each condition. It will also be a helpful tool for all members of the team involved in the care of the renal patient.
Audience: Interns and residents, renal nurses and dieticians, general practitioners and those in other specialties involved with renal patients would benefit most from this book..
Features: There are 12 chapters, the clinical importance of the content measured by the allotted space. The series has developed the art of minimizing the necessary space through the use of symbols, abbreviations, bullet-point information, and plenty of tables and pictures to complement the text. The index is well organized and the chapters follow a logical progression; not forgotten are chapters on pregnancy as well as drugs and kidney diseases. The book is practical, one example being the inclusion of dialysis prescriptions and protocols for the management of complications of dialysis. However, the theoretical aspects are not left out and, when they are not included in the corresponding chapter they are discussed in the last chapter. This last chapter includes also practical procedures in nephrology and useful appendixes.
Assessment: I have read at least four books in the Oxford Handbook series, including the Handbook of Dialysis, which I also have reviewed. Still, every time I am amazed at how clearly and succinctly the essential information is presented. Since a limited number of pages is allotted for each topic, I would like to see the space fully used to present more than just the bare essentials. Also, the section on urine microscopy would benefit from illustrations. Overall, however, starting with the general look of the book, no detail is left out, making this an easy and coherent read.