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Key Topics in Respiratory Medicine. Kinnear W, Johnston I, Hall I. (Pp 169; £18.95). UK: BIOS Scientific Publishers Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1 85996 271 8.
This book from the Key Topic Series is aimed at postgraduate students in medicine (those sitting MRCP examinations) and other trainees (including intensivists and anaesthetists) who come into contact with respiratory medicine during their clinical practice. It is divided into discrete, although overlapping, topics in a standard format covering respiratory symptoms, pathologies and clinical scenarios.
The schematic radiograph on the front cover belies the conspicuous absence of pictures, diagrams or radiographs throughout the rest of the book. It is particularly remarkable that the chapters on chest x rays and diagnostic imaging are thus unfurnished. Similarly, lung function tests are explained with great clarity and serve as a useful revision tool, but without the assistance of any diagrams their value to the novice is limited. The chapters onAspergillus, diffuse parenchymal lung disease and pneumoconiosis were, however, very helpful in clarifying what can be confusing nomenclature. The common respiratory problems (particularly asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and pneumonia) are all covered excellently with clear, up to date overviews. Their management sections are well supported by references to the British Thoracic Society guidelines which enhances the usefulness of the book in clinical practice. Other chapters which deal with respiratory disease in special situations add to the interest and breadth of the text.
I would reiterate the recommendation of the book as a useful text in preparation for both the written and clinical sections of the second part of the MRCP examination. It admirably fulfils its intentions by providing a concise, exceptionally factual, account of clinical respiratory medicine, despite the conspicuous absence of illustrations.—SS
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