Clinical Rheumatology. Rohini Handa. Springer, New Delhi, 2021. 260pp, € 117.69 Ebook; € 145.59 Hardcover. ISBN: 978– 981–33–4885–1.
This paperback book on Clinical Rheumatology is organized into 35 chapters. Although as usual the first two chapters deal with bedside approach and laboratory investigations, the later chapters have a unique order. They are ordered according to prevalence of that disease in the clinic such as low backache, osteoarthritis and gout appear before rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. This helps the reader to know about common diseases first. In addition, the book has two more unique inclusions such as a chapter on ‘Covid-19 and the Rheumatologist’ and ‘Web Resources in Rheumatology’. In rheumatic disease, physiotherapy plays a key role. I wish a chapter on physiotherapy, rehabilitation and indications for surgery had been included in the book.
This is a single-author book, a rarity nowadays in medicine. This has meant that there is uniformity of style and organization. Every chapter is arranged as introduction, clinical recognition, management and conclusions. Chapters have text boxes for key points or pitfalls in diagnosis, etc., which can serve as a memory aid for students. The author has liberally used figures which enhance understanding; however, the quality of pictures could have been better at places such as antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) patterns and oral saliva production. Some diagrams and flowcharts could have been of smaller size for better aesthetics. Rheumatology is a rapidly developing specialty with introduction of many targeted therapies such as anti-cytokines. The author needs to be complemented for providing an evidence-based treatment in a simple way. The liberal use of flowcharts will be extremely helpful for clinicians involved in the management of patients with rheumatic diseases to know how to plan as well as what to do if the patient does not respond to first-line treatment.
The author, a clinician, wanted to provide simple, precise and concise information that will help undergraduates and postgraduates to handle patients in daily practice. Overall, the goal has been achieved by the author. However, at certain places, complex concepts such as complicated nomenclature of antinuclear antibody (ANA) reporting or multiple instruments to measure disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis are included which clearly belong to a major textbook of Rheumatology and not to a book meant for undergraduates.
The language is easy to understand and the book has a good flow. The book is well produced and printed. The book size is perfect to read while relaxing in contrast to big fat rheumatology textbooks. The print size is also easy to read, however, in some chapters such as soft tissue rheumatism where there are too many tables, it is a bit hard to read through.
Overall, this book is a good addition to the available books on Rheumatology. It will be very useful for undergraduates and interns to get one-stop answer to all their issues in Clinical Rheumatology. For rheumatologist and subspecialty trainees, it can serve as a companion book for outpatient practice. The flip side is that it is priced at `8599 on Amazon, which may be a bit too expensive for students and may reduce its readership.