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Lung Function Tests: A Guide to their Interpretation. Kinnear William JM. (Pp 162; £19.50 paperback). Nottingham: Nottingham University Press, 1998. ISBN 1 897676 80 8.
This book adopts a step by step approach to the interpretation of lung function tests. It is aimed at junior doctors specialising in respiratory medicine and clinicians who have contact with patients following lung function assessment. The book deals with the most commonly performed tests but also includes shorter sections on exercise tests and respiratory muscle tests. There is an explanation of predicted values, calculation of normal ranges and standardised residuals (SR). For the numerous examples of lung function the author comes down firmly on the use of SR to define an abnormal result. As a concession to those who do not calculate the SR, the percentage predicted value is also given. The format guides the reader from the simplistic “within normal limits” to the comprehensive report which recommends additional avenues of investigation and the consideration of likely pathologies. Additional levels of complexity are presented one step at a time and each chapter ends with a useful summary. Test repeatability is dealt with briefly and there is a short chapter on serial lung function tests. This is perhaps too brief and would have benefited from a more detailed assessment and additional examples including some pre and post-treatment changes. The chapter on exercise tests is superficial and perhaps the least helpful. The useful appendix contains 11 worked examples for the reader to test him/herself.
This book is a very accessible introduction to the interpretation of lung function tests. It might easily be used for reference and revision for both measurement practitioners and for the reporting clinician.
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