M. Afzal Mir
W.B. Saunders Company, 55 Horner Ave, Toronto, ON M8Z 4X6
Practical, excellent illustrations
Medical students and practitioners
This book aims to provide medical students and practitioners with a comprehensive survey of clinical signs organized by external body parts. The underlying assumption is that most diagnoses from clinical signs are based on pattern recognition, so the book is a rich collection of colour illustrations of common, rare, and esoteric conditions. Using arrows to highlight the more subtle signs would help readers, like me, who need more guidance.
The organization of the book is excellent with a logical approach to each external body part; for example, the chapter on the external eye deals with eyelids and orbit and the conjunctiva. Some interesting clinical tips include listening to a patient’s breathing by putting the stethoscope bell in front of the patient’s mouth.
The focus at times is esoteric with eight pages on various porphyrias, something I was taught in great detail in medical school and have yet to see in practice. Useful diagrams for such conditions as acromegaly or Cushing’s disease illustrate that clinical signs from each anatomical area are only part of the overall picture. Suggestions for further investigation of these major conditions are given but are brief and superficial. Common conditions seen in family practice, such as viral exanthemas, otitis media, and pharyngitis, are given less coverage, and there is a paucity of penile or vulval lesions.
The book is a good reference for unusual conditions and has excellent chapters on fundi, nail disorders, and hands. But the high price of the book could limit how widely it is used.