Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 12-December-2008, Vol 121 No 1287
Gastroenterology and Hepatology: A Clinical Handbook
NJ Talley, I Segal, MD Weltman. Published by Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier Australia), Nov 2007. ISBN 9780729537759. Contains 560 pages. Price A$55.00
Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology continually change and there is an ongoing need for a quick reference-style textbook that medical staff can use to easily access algorithms for management of gastroenterological problems. Some of these problems are commonly seen in general practice (e.g. nausea and vomiting, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and NAFLD); other problems are more specific to hospital practice. Specific chapters on “anaesthesia for endoscopy” and “how to prepare patients for endoscopic procedures” are not commonly found in traditional gastroenterology texts, yet contain essential information for junior hospital medical staff.
This “pocket” book has an emphasis on practical management, and is laid out in a format that lends itself to being used as a quick reference in clinical practice. It is clear and easy to read, with frequent use of bullet points, tables, and lists of differentials, as well as algorithms to facilitate rational investigation of clinical scenarios such as malabsorption, ascites, or acute hepatitis. The text is precise, evidence-based, and up-to-date with relatively little emphasis on pathophysiology; rather the emphasis is clearly placed on what is immediately relevant for practical patient management.
There are some significant discrepancies with regards to the amount of treatment-related information given in particular chapters. For example, the chapter on hepatitis C includes treatment scenarios with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, common adverse events, and individualisation of therapy. In contrast, the chapter on hepatitis B concentrates on hepatitis B serology and natural history with very little practical information on hepatitis B treatment. I found this somewhat disappointing—although to be fair this is a very rapidly evolving field of hepatology.
Overall, this book should form an excellent resource for a wide range of medical students and practitioners, including hospital-based junior medical staff and general practitioners.
Gastroenterologist/Clinical Pharmacologist and Clinical Senior Lecturer in Medicine
Gastroenterology Department, Christchurch Hospital and University of Otago, Christchurch
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