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Gregory Y H Lip
68 pp Price £14.95 ISBN 1-85315-484-9 (p/b)
London: RSM Press, 2002 .
With rapid advances in our understanding of atrial fibrillation, the focus in clinical practice is switching from prevention and palliation to complete cure. For information on the subject, clinicians can turn to numerous websites, and the topic is covered in many textbooks. However, Professor Lip and his publisher have identified the need for a pocket-size book on this most common of arrhythmias. In 68 pages and nine chapters he concisely covers all major aspects of atrial fibrillation from epidemiology to management strategies.
The book is intended especially for internists, general practitioners, junior physicians and medical students, yet Professor Lip's simplification of the pathophysiology and electrophysiological mechanisms and pharmacological management will not rob it of interest to cardiologists or even cardiac electrophysiologists; indeed, it will prove a good reference source on the subject. Although a ‘British’ theme is evident throughout the book, especially in the chapters on epidemiology and management strategies, the coverage of all issues is based on worldwide research.
On the inside of the cover is a simple flow diagram for management of atrial fibrillation that will help clinicians choose a pharmacological treatment and decide when to refer to a specialist centre for non-pharmacological therapy. In the USA, we are seeing increasing use of non-pharmacological methods—especially radiofrequency ablations—as adjunctive and at times curative modalities. The remarkable economy of space is achieved by liberal use of tables, boxes and bullet points; each chapter ends with a useful list of references as ‘further reading’. The quality of illustrations is good, and tables on pharmacological agents (referring to classification, route of administration, dosages and potential adverse effects) offer a quick and reliable source of information. Professor Lip has succeeded brilliantly with this brief guide.