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on 30 October 2009
Now I'm a massive fan of the pocketbooks of differential diagnosis. I had the last one and was quite happy with it... but as soon as I saw a new one out i had to get it!

This one is even better than the 2nd edition. The previous one would list 10 or so differentials, half of which, if you regurgitated on a ward round, would result in the consultant telling you not to be ridiculous. But the new edition traffic lights them, so green ones are common, amber less so and red are rare. Great!

There's now a bit more colour, making it easy to read and the addition of a few more signs/symptoms. Unforunately this has meant the removal of some, though, like epistaxis.

One of my favourite bits about the new edition is the red flag box at the end of each symptom section... so for haemoptysis it tells you when to worry (ie when a smoker, immunocompromised, immigrants, massive quantities and associations). This is great, and is something that comes up in written papers and OSCEs (at HYMS anyway).

There's also two new sections at the back: biochemical presentations (hypocalcaemia et al) and haematological presentations (leucopenia et al), which are really useful.

Briefly - for those who don't know about this book - it lists each major presentation (sign or symptom) in alphabetical order. So if a patient comes in with polyuria you don't even need to use the index; just go alphabetically to polyuria. When in the right section for that presentation you will then be talked through the relevant questions to ask in a history (and the significance of certain answers), the relevant examinations to perform (and the significance of certain signs) and the relevant investigations to do (and the significance of certain results).

My favourite medical book!!!!
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on 17 June 2002
The majority of textbooks be it Oxford handbooks up to Haslett etc. focus on the medical condition and tell you all about it, hopefully. Unfortunately, the skill of the clinician is that of diagnosis of a patient from history and examination. Patients do not present with a condition, they present with signs and symptoms. Most texts, it can be said work backwards, whereas, finally, a book exists that works forwards, from symptom to clues with differentials, history and appropriate investigations.
This book is superb and probably one of my most useful purchases if not the most useful. It is clear, concise yet reassuringly thorough and dependable. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Its only let down is absence os sections on collapse, hypotension and photophobia and loss of conciousness. On the assessment unit, collapse is a common presenting complaint and a chapter on this would have been very useful, at least.
Oh and yes, its a pretty cover design and colour too.
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on 30 December 2007
This book is perfect if your in need to improve your problem solving skills as it not only gives you the differentials for a particular subject e.g. dysphagia but it also lists the positive factors you should be looking forward to in the history and examination. As is that wasnt enough, it also then states investigations that should be considered and what you should look for in the results!!

It's a really easy to read book, that's tiny and easy to carry...I previously bought symptom sorter and wish I hadnt as this book is much better!!
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on 23 December 2007
I bought this book to help with osce preparation and was very impressed by the simplicity of the layout and ease of use. I would recommend this for anyone who 1)wants to improve the way they approach signs and symptoms, 2)has trouble with categorizing differentials (e.g. via system involved) and 3)need an additional resource to accompany a larger reference text. This book is definitely worth having in your collection.
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on 16 November 2013
This book is great at doing exactly what it says on the tin- you have a patient with a symptom, and you can find a list of differentials for it. Its is clear, well laid out, and easy to use. I would particularly recommend it for students when writing up clerkings or case presentations, i.e. situations where you have seen a patient, then will go away and write it up and have to think of differentials. I also used it for quick revision with a friend when we were on a ward waiting for a ward round, and found it a good way to pass the time; we would open it at a particular symptoms, then both try and think of as many differentials for it as we could before checking the suggestions that the book made. The lists of both symptoms and differentials obviously aren't exhaustive, but they are a very good starting point based on the wonderful medic logic of 'common things are common'.

However, I'm not sure how useful it would be higher up the food chain, as I suspect then books such as the Oxford Handbook for Foundation Programme, and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Diagnosis may be more useful when you have a sick patient sat in front of you. The Oxford handbooks contain a number of differentials, but what they also do is give suggestions in terms of investigations and management for those differentials.
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on 2 February 2013
Exactly as it says on the tin, great reference tool and a handy size for carrying around. Service & delivery good and condition (important with used books) was as stated. Very pleased, these books are expensive new.
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on 8 December 2009
As a medical student I'm constantly trying to think up alternative diagnoses when taking a history or examination from a patient. This book is really useful for this and I refer to it regularly in my learning.
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on 2 December 2013
Really helpful little gem of a book. Its like a dictionary of differential diagnosis. Used it repeatedly in my degree and with assignments.
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on 26 May 2014
Seen and have bought quite a few but think this is one of the better ones, though I am aware its a personal choice
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on 4 April 2016
Quite useful for year's 1-2 of medical school, handy to keep around in doctor's room as well.
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