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From The CriticsReviewer: Houssam E. Mardini, MD, MPH(University of Kentucky College of Medicine)
Description: This is a welcome second edition of this handbook, written by an authoritative group of contributors and edited by Dr. Yamada, whose textbook of gastroenterology is one of the main resources and references in the field.
Purpose: This is a comprehensive quick reference. The aim of the authors, as stated in the preface, was to present the quality and depth of the main textbook in a more concise and portable format. This is an easy-to read, manageable, concise yet comprehensive quick reference that covers a wide array of gastrointestinal and liver diseases with an emphasis on the practical clinical aspects of the textbook, particularly with regard to disease/condition recognition, diagnosis, and management. To that extent, the authors succeed in achieving their goal of providing a wealth of knowledge and a practical guide to diagnostic approaches and therapeutic strategies in gastroenterology and hepatology.
Audience: Medical students, residents, and gastrointestinal fellows will find the concise, clinically-oriented descriptions of diseases and their management useful for both the care of patients and preparation for rounds and clinical conferences. Family physicians, internists, nurse practitioners, and physician extenders will similarly find the book helpful as an easy-to-use, ready reference and review of a wide array of clinical problems related to gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
Features: The book's readable format simplifies efficient use in various practice settings. The 77 chapters are broadly arranged by organ system and/or disease or symptom category and are generally presented in an easy to follow manner. Chapters are relatively short and address specific symptom/clinical presentation (such as dysphagia, abdominal pain), or group of related diseases based on location (esophagus, stomach, etc.) or pathophysiology (acid peptic disorders, inflammatory bowel disease). The book follows a general scheme of addressing common presenting symptoms/problem in the earlier chapters and moves on to address disorders of specific parts of the gastrointestinal tact starting with the esophagus and ending with hepatobiliary system. In particular, work-up/treatment algorithms are very helpful and practical. A few chapters that address topics rarely (if ever) addressed in other handbooks are interesting and unique, such as the first chapter on the psychological factors in the care of patients with gastrointestinal disorders, chapter 19 on the approach to gastrointestinal problems in the elderly, and chapter 24 on nosocomial infections and risk to healthcare providers. Although comprehensive, the book is relatively free of some of the problems that can plague similar books, namely redundancy and inconsistency. No endoscopic, radiologic or pathologic figures and no references from the literature are provided and it is unclear how up-to-date some chapters are. For example, in the chapter on inflammatory bowel disease, some information is relatively outdated or imprecise. (The authors' statement under "genetics" that NOD2 encodes for a cytosolic protein in monocytes that is an intracellular receptor for bacterial lipopolysaccharide. It has been clear for sometime that NOD2 is an intracellular sensor of a specific bacterial cell wall component [muramyl dipeptide (MDP)] and that it exists in cells other than monocytes (Paneth cells and colonic epithelium). Additionally, the authors emphasize the role of 5-aminosalysalte in the management of Crohn's disease while the evidence for its efficacy in Crohn's disease is dismal at best.
Assessment: This is a welcome, single-source gastroenterology quick reference for students, residents, and general practitioners in both hospital and ambulatory settings. The collective features of this handbook make it an engaging, user-friendly overview and refresher course and a worthwhile addition to the field. It is an essential addition to the library of any trainee or practicing gastroenterologist or surgeon, but also could be of great value to clinicians and specialists in other disciplines who may be involved in the care of patients with gastrointestinal disorders. It is manageable and generally filled with useful information that make it a practical reference compared to other books that end up on a shelf gathering dust and are seldom if ever consulted after an initial inspection.