Reviewer:Mark C. Walters, MD(University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description:The latest edition of this book is a two-volume set that updates the fourth edition published in 1993. This comprehensive textbook follows the lead of previous editions with particular emphasis on pediatric hematology. However, inclusion of sections on the immune system and pediatric oncology broaden the scope of the text in a logical manner.
Purpose:This textbook has become readily recognized as a standard of pediatric medicine and is unique in its commitment to combine scientific progress with current medical practice. This is no simple task, and at times this is a book about the physiology of the red blood cell, human and molecular genetics, protein biochemistry, and JAK/STAT signal transduction pathways in addition to being a guide for the clinical practice of pediatric hematology. If these discussions at times seem somewhat disjointed, this only enhances the complexity and mystery associated with this discipline.
Audience:This book should appeal to readers at all levels. Students and residents can learn about the approach to common problems like anemia and other cytopenias, or can read in depth about topics like the evolving molecular basis for cancer. In addition, practitioners will want to have this useful reference and pediatric hematologists will find it indispensable.
Features:Tables and figures interspersed throughout the text enhance reading. In particular, newer tables that contain values standardized throughout childhood (e.g., coagulation protein blood levels) are of particular value. A minor criticism is the over-exuberant use of abbreviations, especially acronyms like NNJ (for neonatal jaundice) that are not necessarily standard. This practice must have confused even the editors (see page 118, where hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) was described as "an acquired bleeding disorder caused by pathologically low levels of VK-dependent proteins").
Assessment:This well-written, extensively referenced latest edition contains an extraordinary amount of new information that more than justifies its publication. These features, coupled with special attention to the historical development of pediatric hematology, make reading this book both pleasurable and informative. Pediatricians in practice and academic hematologists alike will want to keep a copy close at hand.