Reviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD (University of California San Francisco)
Description: This edition of a well-established comprehensive book for virtually all known clinical laboratory tests has undergone significant revision in coagulation, reorganization of testing for infectious diseases, expansion of molecular pathology to include cytogenetics, molecular genetic testing, and molecular oncology, and an expanded discussion of point of care testing.
Purpose: The purpose is to serve as a comprehensive resource for medical professionals interested in laboratory medicine, and this edition was intended to reflect contemporary medical practice. Given the rapid changes in technology and clinical laboratory testing, these are worthy objectives that are well met in this edition.
Audience: This book would be most useful for those who want an encyclopedic reference book containing all known clinical laboratory tests. It would be a useful addition to the bookshelves of practicing general medicine practitioners as well as pathologists and laboratory staff.
Features: This book is basically the equivalent of a PDR for laboratory tests. There are a few introductory chapters that briefly cover the principles of laboratory medicine, but the bulk of this book is concise descriptions of individual laboratory tests. As with the PDR, the advantage to this book compared to other laboratory medicine texts are the extraordinarily useful indexes:keyword (for disease state) versus alphabetical (for specific test). The acronyms and abbreviations glossary is also useful for understanding the "alphabet soup" jargon common to laboratory medicine. The very conciseness of this book coupled with its goal of overall comprehensiveness tends to minimize the discussion of clinical utility of many of the tests. In this regard, I view this book as a good reference, but it would not be my first choice in resources for understanding the controversies or clinical limitations of particular tests.
Assessment: This is a useful bookshelf addition for those interested in having a comprehensive compendium of laboratory tests.