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Differential Diagnosis in Pediatric Radiology. Edited by Ebel K. (Pp 825; hardback.) Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3 131 08131 7 .
A revised translation of a German textbook first published in 1995 has been transformed into this edition. The book is aimed primarily at radiologists who undertake some imaging of children. It may also be of interest to paediatricians in general as the numerous (over 1500) images cover a wide range of conditions.
The format consists of lists of possible differential diagnoses for a variety of imaging findings—for example, bilateral renal enlargement without pelvicalyceal dilatation. This is a relatively novel approach to a radiological text and by and large it works well. A three column table is employed to discuss the general headings and their differential diagnoses. Some brief additional text and normal anatomical measurements are frequently included at the beginning of each chapter or subchapter. The book also contains numerous anatomical diagrams and schematic drawings, which are superb and greatly facilitate a rapid understanding of the subsequent text. The tables are simply laid out, contain a sensible amount of information, and are easy to sift through. Overall, this is an excellent book. The authors and publishers are to be congratulated for a number of reasons. The English translation is virtually faultless, the images excellent (always hard to achieve with plain radiographs), and the general layout is easy to follow. The aim of the book is as an aid to differential diagnosis when confronted with a radiological finding in a child, although the major strength is really in the large selection of good quality plain films and other images.
A few deficiencies just about merit mentioning. A laudable attempt at brevity has resulted in staccato, one word sentences in the comments section. This approach can occasionally be quite confusing and assumes a good understanding of the disease processes being discussed. Although a relatively large book, the emphasis is on images and so inexperienced trainees will need to look elsewhere for in depth discussion of the pathology illustrated. There is too little nuclear medicine particularly in the genitourinary chapter, which does not reflect modern paediatric radiology or urology practice, which now relies heavily on nuclear medicine techniques. The section on gastrointestinal radiology would benefit from some better editing of the text to match the high standard of the rest of the book. Ultimately these drawbacks do not seriously detract from what is otherwise an excellent and extensive collection of paediatric images allied to relevant sensible tabulated information.
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