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Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology

Richard A Watts, Philip G. Conoghan, Christoper Denton, et al. pp. 1552 OUP Oxford, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0199642489

I owned the first edition of the Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology in 1993, when I was a trainee, and it is a pleasure to read and review the fourth edition. Instead of having 2 volumes, the latest edition has consolidated into one, but certainly without jeopardising the quality.

The overall structure of the book is well thought out. From the outset, age as a determinant of disease expression develops as a theme. A discussion of the presentation and management of rheumatic diseases in childhood,  and in the elderly population, differentiates it from the bulk of rheumatology textbooks, which mostly deal with adult rheumatology.

New aspects of immunopathology, new imaging technologies, new classification guidelines, and new treatment principles are discussed in great depth. Potential readers, including students, trainees, general physicians and academic rheumatologists will appreciate the comprehensive text and liberal use of colorful illustrations. An evidence-based approach is frequently used, with summary tables of the available evidence from trials and studies accompanied by extensive referencing. At the end of different chapters key references are given.

The layout of most of the disease specific chapters have a similar structure, for instance, epidemiology, classification criteria, clinical features, etc, which is very handy and is particularly useful for trainees. The print edition is complemented by an online version, which is updated annually, to ensure access to the most up-to-date information.

I enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot. It is, without doubt, excellent value. It is one of the standard textbooks which medical libraries, trainees, and practicing rheumatologists should have on their bookshelves.

Reviewed by T. C. Cheung, Rheumatologist