UCONN Emergency Medicine Interest Group

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Book Review: Emergency Radiology – Case Studies

In REVIEWS on December 17, 2011 at 8:37 PM

This review is for the book Emergency Radiology: Case Studies, by David Schwartz, which can be purchased here. The reviewer has received no financial renumeration for this review.

I read this book prior to and during my radiology rotation to improve my knowledge about radiology specifically relevant to EM. There are several other books dedicated to this topic, but I felt this one struck the best balance between brevity and comprehensiveness. I felt that this case-based emergency radiology text was extremely helpful and well-written.

The text of the book is 559 pages. It is divided into 7 sections: chest X-ray, abdominal X-ray, upper and lower extremity X-ray, C-spine X-ray, head CT, and facial X-ray. Each section has a number of cases which serve to illustrate a particular point. The majority of the material presented was based on plain films, which I felt was appropriate, given that these are the most likely films that an emergency physician will have to interpret before the official radiologist reading; the exception to this is the section on head CT, which is, of course, a very important modality for EPs to be facile with. Notably, many of the cases describe initially missed findings by the radiologist, the emergency physician, or both, which resulted in a bounceback or other adverse outcome. The cases are also mostly not obvious- the book specifically addresses many more subtle findings that would and are often easily missed if they are not specifically looked for, such as hidden infiltrates on CXR, soft tissue swelling as a marker for fractures, and stroke mimics. Thus, the book definitely goes beyond the introductory level, and would very likely be a valuable read even to an experienced emergency medicine resident or attending.

Strengths of the book included the very clear writing style by a single author, excellent quality and quantity of images (there is nothing, in my opinion, more frustrating than trying to learn from terrible quality images), focus on radiology that is critical in EM, level of detail, and range of material presented. Weaknesses included omission of some topics that probably would be helpful (eg. hip dislocation), and general lack of ultrasound (although I understand that this is more of a conventional radiography book). In the end, I would definitely recommend this book.

Overall score (out of 5 stars):

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