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Mayo Clin Proc. 2009 November; 84(11): 1045.
PMCID: PMC2770929

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis

Reviewed by John B. Bundrick, MD

by  David L. Simel and  Drummond Rennie,  744 pp,  $59.95,  New York, NY,  McGraw-Hill (telephone: 800-722-4726),  2009, ISBN  978-0-07-159030.

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Type and Scope of Book:

A multiauthored compendium of articles from the well-regarded JAMA series on evidence-based clinical diagnosis, with updates from the original authors.


More than 50 articles provide a rigorous systematic review of the evidence regarding test performance characteristics of clinical findings on a broad range of common medical conditions. Each article begins with a plausible clinical scenario, then proceeds to a brief description of the technique for eliciting the findings, a review of the available evidence, and concludes with a “bottom line” summary and resolution of the scenario. The chapter immediately following each original article provides a concise review of a recently updated literature search on the topic.


The range of topics covered and the clinical focus make this an eminently readable (and clinically useful) text. The rigorous and transparent methodology renders it an authoritative source. The authors plan to keep the material periodically updated via the Web site.


None noted.

Recommended Readership:

Clinicians at every level will find this information useful in making sense of daily practice. Both teachers and students of physical diagnosis will also find it valuable.

Overall Grading:

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Articles from Mayo Clinic Proceedings are provided here courtesy of The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research