Otolaryngology Cases: The University of Cincinnati Clinical Portfolio, 2nd edition

Review by L Flood
Middlesborough, UK

I reviewed the first edition of this book in 2010 and liked it so much that one sentence of my review for The Journal of Laryngology & Otology, a particularly enthusiastic comment, even appeared in the subsequent advertising by Thieme. I lamented loaning the book to a trainee, knowing that I would never see it again, whatever the reassurances to the contrary. My pessimism proved well founded.

The second edition is impressive in undertaking genuine updating, after a relatively short interval. Even more commendable is that the price is unchanged and still represents a real bargain. It is aimed at trainees, but this old timer learnt much, revised established knowledge and saw the value of this book as an aid to that ‘last-minute lecture’ on many a topic that is a complete mystery to this ‘stand-in’ speaker. It retains the paperback format, but the 88 cases are expanded to exactly 100. These cover the full range of our specialty, including thyroid and skin diseases, facioplastics, and sleep-disordered breathing. It is worth actually reading the list of 100 topics to appreciate the breadth of our work these days; everything from congenital hearing loss to carotid artery rupture, from Reinke’s oedema (we will forgive their spelling) to the granulomatous polyangiitis of He-Who-Must-Not- Be-Named (with apologies to JK Rowling).

There is a nice consistent style, despite the multi-author contribution, which makes for very easy reading and not just dipping in at random. Each topic starts with a simple case history, followed by differential diagnosis, tests and interpretation, the final diagnosis made, and management. Three multiple-choice questions close each chapter, and doing these did make me sympathise with the young trainees’ trials and tribulations in post-graduate examination. Modesty forbids me telling of my scores in otology and head and neck, but, equally, sheer embarrassment prevents mention of my knowledge of thyroid and parathyroid disease. It is those double negatives that I tried to blame. ‘Which one of these is not a feature of….?’ with the answers including the option ‘none of the above’. I do have to say that, after reading the chapters and returning to the questions, things looked better.

Imaging is superbly reproduced, and includes some very spectacular and well-chosen subjects. Case reports are very unpopular with journal editors, but still have a place in medical education. Most of us learnt more from personal experience of an individual patient, or from our own career’s triumphs and failings, than from any didactic lecture. The brief, punchy style of this book is highly recommended to all trainees and, at least as much, to their trainers. At this price, a personal copy, not access to the one departmental version, is essential. The latter will soon, mysteriously, just vanish without trace!

Amazon Link: Otolaryngology Cases: The University of Cincinnati Clinical Portfolio, 2nd edition
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