Medicine And Books

ABC of Emergency Radiology; Accident and Emergency Radiology: A Survival Guide

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 19 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:518
  1. Hans Van Overhagen,
  2. Koen Brakel

    ABC of Emergency Radiology

    ABC of Emergency Radiology, Ed David A Nicholson, Peter A Driscoll BMJ Publishing Group, £14.95, pp 111 ISBN 0 7279 0832 4

    Accident and Emergency Radiology: A Survival Guide

    Accident and Emergency Radiology: A Survival Guide, Nigel Raby, Laurence Berman, Gerald de Lacey Saunders, £15.95, pp 254 ISBN 0 7020 1905 4

    Emergency radiology is important and challenging but it is often performed by non-specialist clinicians. In general there are two types of books available on this subject. Firstly, textbooks for formal training in radiology that extensively describe the diagnostic imaging of trauma and include modern imaging modalities such as ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Secondly, practical guides, with plain radiographs only, for doctors—either clinical or radiological residents—who are on duty in the accident and emergency department.

    Usually the doctors on duty in these departments are young and inexperienced and have not had systematic radiological training. However, they are expected to judge whether radiographs are necessary, to interpret them correctly, and to decide if a radiologist should be consulted.

    The two new books on emergency radiology that are discussed here are written for these inexperienced doctors. Both books use a systematic approach to reading plain radiographs, provide diagrams, and emphasise the importance of obtaining radiographs that are of diagnostic quality.

    The text of ABC of Emergency Radiology by Nicholson and Driscoll is more extensive and includes both clinical and radiological information. Thus, it has some characteristics of a textbook but lacks information on modern imaging techniques. It will have to compete with established textbooks on emergency radiology and seems less practical as a guide. Moreover, the quality of radiographs is not always optimal and arrows are lacking. Consequently, the radiographs may be more difficult to interpret, especially for inexperienced viewers.

    The Accident and Emergency Radiology Survival Guide by Raby, Berman, and de Lacey will fit into the coat pocket of many doctors, which enhances its practical value. The experience of the authors, who have been teaching radiological courses for many years, is reflected in the clear and logical text. The well labelled radiographs are of excellent quality. In addition, the limitations of plain radiographs and suggestions for alternative or additional imaging are briefly discussed.


    Inherited white nails illustrated in Samman's The Nails in Disease by Peter D Samman and David A Fenton (Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 0 7506 0189 2), first published in 1965, now in its 5th edition, and arguably the best illustrated text on the topic.

    In conclusion, a patient in the accident and emergency department may have a higher chance of survival when the inexperienced doctor carries the Survival Guide.—HANS VAN OVERHAGEN, KOEN BRAKEL, department of radiology, Rotterdam University Hospital, the Netherlands

    View Abstract