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Paediatric Gastrointestinal Disease. Pathology, Diagnosis, Management.
  1. A G THOMAS, Consultant paediatric gastroenterologist

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    Paediatric Gastrointestinal Disease. Pathology, Diagnosis, Management. Vols 1 and 2. 2nd Ed. Edited by W Allan Walker, Peter R Durie, J Richard Hamilton, John A Walker-Smith, and John B Watkins. (Pp 1856; £245 hardback.) Mosby, 1996. ISBN 0-8151-9082-4 .

    ‘Paediatric Gastroenterology—A Formidable Past, a Challenging Future’ the first chapter of this multiple, and international, author textbook highlights the recent impressive advances in our understanding of gastrointestinal diseases in children. The second edition could not have come at a better time, with many countries now recognising ‘certification’ in this rapidly developing subspecialty. The two volumes are divided into six sections: I. Approach to child and family; II. Normal development and function; III. Cardinal manifestations: pathophysiology; IV. Clinical manifestations and management; V. Diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease in children; and VI. Principles of therapy.

    In attempting to make the most of the new while retaining the best of the old, the first edition (published 1991) has been extensively reviewed. While highlighting important technological advances the editors have ensured that the lessons of the past have not been forgotten. The unique qualities of children and the essential perspective of the patient and family are emphasised. The section on normal development has been expanded. Over half of the book concentrates on clinical manifestations and management; this immensely practical section has been extensively revised to reflect current practice. New chapters such as gene therapy and AIDS enteropathy have been added while chapters on Reye’s syndrome and home total parenteral nutrition have been omitted. The section on diagnosis has been extensively updated and includes endoscopy, liver and intestinal biopsy, pH and motility studies, pancreatic and gastric function tests, breath analysis, and a very comprehensive but practical account of imaging techniques. Great attention has also been given to the section on treatment with particular emphasis on nutrition and new developments in drug treatment. All chapters are written by experts in their fields, styles inevitably differ but all are refreshingly up to date. Although this edition is 330 pages longer than the first, individual chapters are concise and eminently readable. Only seven of the 141 chapters are longer than 30 pages.

    This is not a book to just sit on a shelf in the library gathering dust. I have found it to be of immense value in the day to day practice of paediatric gastroenterology. Having carried it home to read each evening for the last four weeks the main problem identified is the weight; perhaps the solution is to keep a second copy at home! The editors have succeeded in providing a comprehensive and authoritative approach to the subject. It is rapidly becoming acknowledged as the standard reference source and the only question is how I ever managed without it? I thoroughly recommend this book to all paediatric gastroenterologists and trainees in the subject. It will also be an invaluable reference source to other paediatricians, paediatric surgeons, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and biochemists.