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Decent Handbook for Primary Care Internists
on May 7, 2010
I am an internist who will be returning to outpatient primary care after several years absence. So I wanted to review a handbook that would provide an up-to-date, concise outline of conditions that an office based internist is likely to encounter. I am a fan of the Washington Manual series, and have been using the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics since I was an intern many years ago. However, that book is geared more to a hospital based practice. In about 2003, a Washington Manual of Ambulatory Therapeutics came out that was an excellent resource for office based internists, but it has been many years since the one and only edition of that book was published and it is now out-dated.
So, I was really looking forward to reading through the first edition Washington Manual of Outpatient Internal Medicine published in April, 2010. Having read through several sections, I am mostly pleased with the format and content. The book's chapters are divided mostly by organ systems, but some diseases such as diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease, and GERD receive their own chapters. Most disease entities are presented in the common General Principles, Diagnosis, and Treatment sections and the discussion is in a bulleted, outline form.
At over a 1000 pages, I would have expected that this book would be fairly comprehensive in presenting disorders that an internist is likely to encounter in everyday practice, as well as many other rarer conditions about which internists should be knowledgeable. This is not the case and some commonly encountered conditions are difficult to find. For example, look for peptic ulcer disease or H. pylori infection in the index and you won't find it. A cursory discussion of peptic ulcer disease is buried in the section entitled "Dyspepsia" in the chapter "Common Gastrointestinal Complaints." For treatment of peptic ulcer disease, it states that H. pylori should be eradicated if positive, but the book provides no guidance of how to test to the bug or the antibiotic regimens to use if detected.
There are many other books of this type on the market that are of equal or better utility to clinical practice. Overall, this is a good, but not great, manual for practicing clinicians. I would have preferred that Lippincott would have decided to publish a new edition of the Washington Manual of Ambulatory Therapeutics, which I feel was a superior reference for office practice.