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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 describes a process clinicians can use to work through to the appropriate diagnosis using current literature as a guide. The first edition was published in 2006.
Purpose: The purpose is to develop an interesting, practical, and informative approach to teaching the diagnostic process in internal medicine. The authors differentiate this book from others that describe the disease by characterizing the process leading to the diagnosis.
Audience: All clinicians caring for patients, from medical students to residents and attending physicians, are the intended audience. The book is well written for all levels, and the authors are well-respected educators and experts in the field.
Features: This edition has new chapters, most notably one on AIDS/HIV, and additional color pages of rashes, a definite advantage. The chapters highlight identifiable history and physical findings specific to a condition as "fingerprints." The first chapter has a valuable description of the diagnostic process, how to develop a differential diagnosis, and how to use ancillary testing. The question-and-answer format is appropriate for those studying for board examinations. Numerous charts, tables, and highlighted teaching points make the reading very easy.
Assessment: While the approach to developing the diagnosis and differential is refreshing and well done, it is a bit of a stretch to say that the book incorporates "evidence" as the basis, as the references are somewhat limited. The facts that the authors rely upon are accepted and described in major textbooks, but hard evidence is not cited, mainly because this level of evidence is not readily documented in the literature.