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From The CriticsReviewer: Alex Lickerman, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This book summarizes the physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacologic weapons used in the treatment of heart disease.
Purpose: The editors present their book to provide physicians who care for patients with heart disease with an up-to-date guide for the clinical application of pharmacologic advances. As the editors state, "...fortunately, the relentless march of discovery continues with the appearance of new drugs, new classes of drugs, new facts about old drugs, and new uses for some old drugs...." In fact, this "relentless march of discovery" threatens to leave many clinicians at best bewildered and at worst dangerous to the very patients they treat. This book represents an excellent preventative measure against becoming out-of-date.
Audience: The editors intend the book both for cardiologists and primary care physicians. However, residents, and even students, would do well to have it on their shelves.
Features: The authors' styles are consistently direct, clear, and unpretentious. The organization is logical and begins in each section at the beginning of the story, as in the first section, entitled Basic Concepts, which first offers a concise review of basic pharmacotherapy, including a discussion of principles every clinician should have at his or her fingertips. It moves on then to principles of pharmacotherapy of cardiac drugs, including the specific parameters of bioavailability, first-pass effects, and drug-drug interactions. The section entitled Lipid-Lowering Therapy appropriately begins with a review of the main classes of lipid-lowering agents. Reviews of landmark trials and meta-analyses follow. This organization enables the reader to build a knowledge of the material block by block in an order that greatly enhances understanding and retention.
Assessment: The authors have made good on their promise in the preface to "go beyond the scope of review articles on drug therapies" by offering detailed practical clinical pearls on how to prescribe cardiac drugs, monitor patients on them, adjust dosages, and mitigate side effects. From observational studies to randomized trials, from discussions of theoretical mechanisms of action to statistics of percent improved survival, the book delivers a multileveled comprehensive review that arms the clinician with all the knowledge he or she requires to treat heart disease effectively with pharmacotherapy. It does so based on the most cogent analyses of the most up-to-date data currently available, and I recommend the book for all physicians with patients who require pharmacologic therapy to treat heart disease.