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WAO Medical Book Review

Kendig’s Disorders of the Respiratory Tract in Children
Editors: Chernick, Boat and Wilmott, Bush

List Price: $249.00 USD
Available from: Elsevier

Peter van Asperen MD FRACP
Head, Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead &
Macintosh Professor of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.

The 7th Edition of this internationally respected "bible of pediatric pulmonology", first published in 1967, has been dedicated to the memory of Dr Edwin Kendig, the founding editor who was also involved in all previous editions. It covers this broad subject in a logical sequence commencing with a section on "General Considerations" (including chapters on normal lung development and physiology as well as clinical assessment) and proceeds through various infectious and non-infectious disorders of the respiratory tract as well as diseases with a prominent respiratory component including immune mediated and immune deficient disorders. This is the first edition to contain a separate section on "Asthma" including chapters on the epidemiology and immunopathogenesis of asthma, asthma in the pre-school years and in older children, and the influence of upper airway disease on the lower airway. This section is complemented by other chapters in the "General Considerations" section including the biology and assessment of airway inflammation, and drug administration by aerosol in children.

The book is designed to provide a comprehensive reference text on both common and rarer paediatric respiratory diseases as well a scientific understanding of normal pulmonary function and how it might be affected by these diseases.

Although primarily designed as a textbook for practising paediatric respiratory physicians and intensivists as well as trainees in these paediatric subspecialties, it also serves as a useful resource for all paediatricians and trainees, including paediatric allergists.

This latest edition has been extensively revised to incorporate the large body of new knowledge that has become available since the last edition in 1998. The authors have been carefully chosen as experts in their subject and represent views from both sides of the Atlantic as well as the Asia-Pacific. All the chapters are well set out and illustrated, are easy to read and contain a mixture of scientific and practical information with either up-to-date references or a suggested reading list. This edition also contains a series of colour plates which appear at the beginning of the book but are clearly referenced to individual chapters.

This has been and remains one of the relatively few comprehensive textbooks on paediatric respiratory disorders and with its updated material will continue to serve as an important resource for its intended audience. Like all textbooks some of the information will rapidly date but much of it will continue to be relevant until the next revision. In the section on Asthma, the information provided is generally consistent with current understanding and management approaches in paediatric asthma although the latter predominantly reflects North American management, which is not surprising given the authorship of these chapters. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking information on respiratory issues in children.