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By Robert P H Logan, Adam Harris, J J Misiewicz, and J H Baron. (Pp 54; £14.95.) BMJ Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7279-1266-6.****
Symptoms that appear to arise from the upper gastrointestinal tract are extremely common and lead to an enormous workload for general practitioners as well as hospital doctors. The potential for inappropriate investigation and use expensive drugs is significant. This book provides a concise summary of disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract and the efficient and cost effective management. The chapters addressing reflux, non-ulcer dyspepsia, and gallstones should be essential reading for medical students, trainees, and general practitioners. The pragmatic approach to reflux and non-ulcer dyspepsia is refreshing. The summary boxes on gallstones are commendable.
While the chapters on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of Helicobacter pylori are well written, they should be read by those entering gastroenterology or taking college examinations, rather than a general readership.
The main drawback with this series of publications is the lack of references or a “further reading list” to guide to interested reader.
Overall, the balance between brevity and detail is well struck. I strongly recommend it to medical students, trainees, and general practitioners. It will also provide useful background for those wishing to enter a career in gastroenterology.
The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.