An editor or author of a large-scale "comprehensive" work has the difficult task of identifying his intended audience and appropriately answering its need for a text. Dr Branch noted that students and residents at medical centers needed knowledge and skills in outpatient diagnosis and management, a need that the centers' curricula were not fulfilling satisfactorily. He structured his text to meet that need, selecting the "most important and most common problems" for inclusion, to quote his preface. Private practitioners may also benefit from his well-planned endeavor.
This text approaches office practice from a problem-oriented perspective, with each chapter or section devoted to a single clinical topic. Where fitting, most of the authors (there are more than 60 contributors to this volume) follow the familiar format of historical features, clinical presentation, etiology and pathophysiology, ancillary tests needed in the diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and appropriate therapy. The majority of chapters are succinct