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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Visual Guide for Clinicians
Author: Caroline Gordon, M.D., FRCP
ISBN 13:
Clinical Publishing  56 Pages  Hard Cover
List Price:  $49.95  2012

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MedicalScienceBooks.com Medical Book Review:

     Connective tissue diseases are often quite challenging to diagnose in the primary care clinic where vague presenting symptoms overlap with long differential lists.  Many conditions that fall within this category are somewhat rare and so they can easily be overlooked by the busy practitioner.  However, the consequence of delayed diagnosis is particularly concerning in these diseases due to their widespread systemic effects and lack of effective therapies, specifically late in disease progression.  Therefore, the importance of keeping connective tissue disease in mind during the history and physical examination can’t be overstated.

      The Visual Guide for Clinicians series by Clinical Publishing, which is beginning to set a standard for basic clinical education, has added this volume on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) to its growing library.  The title is somewhat misleading however, because the book does not focus solely on SLE but also contains extensive information on related disorders like Sjogren’s and systemic sclerosis.  The information is organized with a clinical flow in order of the steps taken in the patient examination.  readers are cued in to details from the patient history and presentation that should prompt them to inquire further about details which may point to connective tissue disease.  There is also an emphasis on the relationship of other conditions, such as malignancies, with connective disease.  Keeping in line with the Visual Guide portion of its title, the book offers a representative selection of photographs of patients demonstrating key clinical features of SLE and connective tissue disease like malar rash, ophthalmic findings, mucosal ulcerations, etc.  The editors have also included illustrative histologic and diagnostic images that bridge the gap from clinical observation to laboratory and pathology studies.

     Perhaps the greatest value of this book is the ease with which it can be referenced in the clinic or read through cover to cover as an introduction or refresher to the connective tissue diseases.  The brevity of the book (around 50 pages) with the inclusion of ample photographs and illustrations make this a highly focused quick read on the subject.  The logical organization makes it particularly easy to find the information you need to know quickly and can certainly be referred to in the midst of a busy clinic schedule should the need arise. 

     Specialists in rheumatology may find the information in this title elementary and require more comprehensive references in their work.  This book will find its greatest use in the primary care clinic as both a refresher and reminder to clinicians to keep an open mind to the connective tissue diseases which masquerade as other more common conditions.    Medical students are another group that can greatly benefit from this title by using it as an introduction to these diseases as well as a good exercise in going through the steps of patient evaluation.

Ratings (1-10 , 10 being the highest):

Overall Rating:


Author’s objectives met:



Organization of information: 9
Significant number of illustrations: 10
Suitable for intended audience: 9
Overall presentation: 9
Quality of illustrations: 9
Usefulness of book:   9
Value: 10
Writing style: 8


An instructive, highly-illustrated guide to the investigation, diagnosis and management of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the related condition of Sjögren's syndrome. Appropriate investigations are critical to making the correct diagnosis of SLE so that treatment can be tailored to the patient's condition. Multidisciplinary care is important and should involve the full range of allied health professionals, as well as the relevant clinical specialists depending on the organs and systems involved. This concise visual guide will provide all members of the clinical team with a practical up-to-date reference to assist diagnosis and treatment.

Table of Contents:

1. General Assessment of Patients with Suspected Connective Tissue Disease (CTD)
– History-taking and the assessment of symptoms
– Examination for signs of CTD
– Investigations in a patient with suspected CTD

2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
– Definition and pathology
– Epidemiology
– Presentation of systemic lupus
– Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
– Monitoring disease activity and distinguishing damage
– Principles of management of systemic lupus erythematosus

3. Sjögren’s Syndrome
– Definition, pathology, and epidemiology
– Clinical manifestations and assessment
– Classification
– Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
– Management of Sjögren’s syndrome

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