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Book review may be available in other languages

WAO Medical Book Review

Posted: April 2010

Clinical Allergy: Diagnosis and Management
Gerald W. Volcheck

Publisher: 2009 Humana Press
ISBN 978-1-58829-616-0 (Print)
e-ISBN 978-1-59745-315-8 (Online)
List Price: $79.95
Available at: Humana Press

Catherine Toong, B Med(Hons)
Immunology and Allergy Advanced Trainee
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Allergic disorders are frequently encountered in primary care situations as well as in specialty practice. This 479-page text book reviews the most commonly encountered allergic disorders. It provides an understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these conditions and provides practical advice for their assessment and management.

The book aims to provide a concise yet thorough review of relevant basic science, clinical features, and management aspects relating to the most common allergic diseases. It includes up-to-date facts and evidence in its discussion.

All doctors with an interest in allergy will find this good reading to further their understanding and management of allergic disease. It is not an exhaustive reference book, but is more than adequate to cover the disorders most commonly found in primary practice. Those starting their specialization in allergy will also find it a useful starting point. Those with more experience in managing allergic disease will find it a pithy summary.

The author commences with an overview of the human immune response. He then reviews environmental allergens, and their characteristics and methods for reducing and controlling exposure to them. A chapter is devoted to the practical considerations of allergen testing and immunotherapy. The chapters that then follow review the most common allergic disorders.

Each chapter is followed by a few clinical vignettes with progressive commentary on the presentation, investigation results, and management of each case. Useful flowcharts and tables are presented. Color photos and diagrams are sparsely but judiciously used. The comprehensive summaries of immune-mediated pathology are not so well illustrated, but this is in keeping with the book's purpose to provide a concise review rather than a detailed elaboration of pathophysiological mechanisms. The text is not referenced, but there is a list of suggested readings at the end of each chapter.

Clinical Allergy: Diagnosis and Management is an excellent starting text for those with an interest in allergy. It is well-written and brimming with relevant facts and practical advice. This book manages to cover a wide field despite its compact presentation. Some understanding of basic immunobiology will aid in the reading of the at-times quite dense overviews of pathophysiological processes in allergic disease. However the clinical and management aspects are clear and easily digestible; making this a worthwhile read for those commencing specialization in clinical allergy.