NEW REVIEW -- BURTIS / Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry, 6th Edition.
Elsevier, 2008, $96.95. Imprint: Saunders.
Burtis, Carl A., PhD; Ashwood, Edward R., MD; Bruns, David E., MD
ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2, NLM: QY 90, LC: RB40, 952 pages, hard cover.
[REVIEWER'S EXPERT OPINION]
Valerie L. Ng, PhD, MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
This is the sixth edition of what is appropriately recognized as one of the cornerstone reference books for clinical chemistry. The fifth edition was published 2001.
This is as a comprehensive clinical chemistry book.
Intended for anyone interested in clinical chemistry, the book would be of obvious use to clinical laboratory scientists (practicing or in training) or clinical chemists (fellows or practicing). It would also be of interest to clinical pathologists (residents or practicing). Finally, it would be of interest to anyone who orders any of these tests and uses them to help in clinical care (i.e., MDs, medical students, residents, fellows, nurse practitioners, etc.) The editors and authors are well known and credible authorities.
Every time I turn around, there's a new Tietz clone. Specifically, all released within the past year or so and all edited by the same group, there is this sixth edition, there is the fourth edition of the Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, Burtis et al. (Elsevier,
2006) (mammoth combo book), and there is the newly released Fundamentals of Molecular Diagnostics, Bruns et al (Elsevier, 2007). How do these three books interrelate? This sixth edition nicely carries on the tradition of excellence long associated with Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Of note and unique to this book (compared to the two other Tietz variants) is a standardized chapter format beginning with key words and key concepts and ending with self-assessment questions. Additional material is available on the Evolve website for the more curious. But how come this 952-page book is only about one-third the size of the Tietz Textbook, even though it has only 11 fewer chapters? And why does it have 1,460 fewer pages than the Tietz Textbook, when the molecular diagnostics book has only 267 pages? So here's the difference: this book is focused primarily on the laboratory aspects of clinical chemistry.
While organ systems and clinical relevance of tests are discussed in this book, they are not discussed in the detail or depth as in the textbook. This book is nicely designed for the student with integrated educational tools. The textbook has much more detailed information but lacks integration with educational aids.
The molecular diagnostics book has more current information than the textbook.
Finally, in terms of weight, the molecular diagnostics book is lightweight, the fundamentals book is near the limit of my lifting capacity, and the textbook - you can injure yourself trying to heft it around if your upper body strength is limited like mine. If you want the best bang for your buck though, I'd recommend the textbook, but make sure you buff up at the gym before regular use.
This fundamentals book is a nice update to a well recognized authoritative text on clinical chemistry. I'd heartily recommend this for CLS students and clinical chemistry fellows. Meanwhile, I'd recommend the textbook for practicing pathologists/clinical chemists/pathology residents for the extra detail and depth needed for everyday practice.
Weighted Numerical Score: 94 - 4 Stars!