Edited by Fauzia Khan, Howard J. Sachs, Liberto Pechet, and L. Michael Snyder, 537 pp, with illus, Philadelphia, Pa, Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 2002.

The Guide to Diagnostic Testing is the latest in a long series of books designed to provide a practical approach to clinical diagnosis with an emphasis on laboratory testing. This multiauthored text includes a number of faculty in internal medicine subspecialties with selected contributions from other fields such as surgery and obstetrics/gynecology. Although many similar books have been published, the majority lack the authority that comes from a text composed of contributions from multiple clinical experts. The Guide to Diagnostic Testing provides an exception to the otherwise checkered history of books of this type. The book contains 13 sections logically organized according to discipline with multiple topics reviewed under each section. Most common or important clinical/laboratory problems encountered by physicians are covered in the various sections. For the most part, the presentations are timely and authoritative. Considering the lag time between the completion of any text and its actual publication, I find that most of the sections are up to date. Inevitably, individual physicians may disagree with some of the recommended diagnostic approaches reflecting variation in practice patterns between institutions and specialties. Taking this into consideration, the presentation overall is one of the best I have seen in terms of clarity, accuracy, and scope. This text will prove a valuable guide to medical students, residents, physicians, and allied health care professionals who require an easily accessible, well-organized presentation of common diagnostic problems with an emphasis on laboratory testing. The authors have chosen to use an algorithmic approach to many workups that is supplemented by concise text, which is well highlighted by boldface and subtitles. When appropriate, tables are provided if the presentation is better offered in this form than in an algorithm. In my opinion, the majority of practitioners would be delighted to purchase this book and keep it in a readily available location for frequent reference.

As with all 1st-edition texts, there are some omissions of selected clinical problems or sections that might be considered in a subsequent edition. For example, a table of normal reference values would be extremely helpful, given the emphasis on laboratory testing in this book. A section on molecular diagnostics and genetic diseases would also prove valuable, particularly since many of these tests are new and their applications not well understood by most practitioners.

In summary, this is an excellent, concise guide to diagnostic testing written by subspecialists in their respective fields that will prove invaluable to health care professionals in many areas of practice. It is a book that I would purchase.