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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ivan Damjanov, MD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This is the eighth edition of a book on liver biopsies that was originally conceived and published by the famous British pathologist Peter Scheuer in 1968. After Dr. Scheuer's death in 2006, it has been retitled to include the name of its originator, like an implied guarantee that it has retained all the well-known features of the revered prototype. The previous edition was published in 2005.
Purpose: This book, originally conceived as a "practical aid to liver biopsy diagnosis," was the first practice-oriented, illustrated compendium devoted to the interpretation of liver biopsies. Soon after the publication of the first edition, it became quite popular with practicing diagnostic pathologists in the U.K., the U.S., and, for that matter, worldwide. Ever since, it has retained its leading, and almost iconic position, and is probably the most widely used manual of liver pathology currently in print. It was aimed at practicing non-liver centered pathologists and hematologists, and has served as the most popular supplement to major diagnostic textbooks of surgical pathology and hepatology. This edition is prepared in the same time-tested format as the 1968 original, but refined over the years into an ideal, almost perfect book.
Audience: Although intended for practicing diagnostic pathologists and hepatologists, the book will be used by residents and fellows as well. It can be equally useful to neophyte beginners and experienced diagnosticians looking to for answers to complex questions and unusual findings in the liver biopsy. The author is a well-known liver pathologist from College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and a spiritual descendant (if not heir) of Dr. Scheuer, who was one of the pioneers in the field of diagnostic hepatopathology and microscopic interpretation of liver biopsy.
Features: The book uses a relatively small format and has less than 400 pages, which makes it very handy for quick consultation on the surgical pathology bench or for shelving close to the microscope. It is divided into 17 chapters, in the same manner as previous editions. The author patiently and systematically presents the essential basic facts about the liver, assuming that readers are just starting their studies of liver biopsy. Hence there are details about the performance of the biopsy, types of needles used, preparation of the tissue for processing, preparation and staining of histopathology slides. If you are starting your own lab, you may even find recipes for various stains recommended for the liver biopsy. Thereafter, the author describes the histology of the normal liver and the pathologic patterns produced by various diseases. The book covers the entire spectrum of hepatology, including biliary diseases, viral and bacterial, and parasitic infections, metabolic and toxic, and drug induced diseases, vascular disorders, neoplasms, and related disorders. Special chapters are devoted to childhood diseases, diseases of the liver in pregnancy, and, of course, to cirrhosis. Pathology of liver transplantation is prominently featured and discussed in great detail. All chapters are illustrated with well-chosen, flawless color figures and ends with quite relevant references. At the end of the book there is a chapter on electron microscopy and a very useful glossary for the less initiated.
Assessment: Over the last 40 years, this book has become a must-have, essential part of pathology libraries worldwide. It deserves to be included in general medical libraries as well, and hopefully in all multidisciplinary internal medicine and hepatology libraries. I always recommend it to my new students and consider it required reading for all gastrointestinal fellows. I am confident that it will teach them all what they need for their practice of hepatopathology. The book is well written, profusely illustrated, nicely laid out, and very reader friendly. Most importantly, the critical message is never lost in sea of other minutiae, bravely resisting the deluge of new facts that inundate us on a daily basis from medical journals. Nevertheless, the book is very much up to date, referring to many of the most relevant and exciting new developments in the field. Guided by the principles that less is often more, and that there is no substitute for clear expository writing, the author has produced a wonderful jewel of a book. Physically attractive, full of well-chosen microphotographs, tables, and lists, useful for practice, authoritative and trustworthy, handy and concise — what else does one really need? The late Dr. Scheuer would have been very proud of his intellectual offspring in this new edition.