May 21, 1997

The Pericardium: A Comprehensive Textbook

Author Affiliations

Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, Calif


by David H. Spodick, 464 pp, with illus, $165, ISBN 0-8247-9316-1, Monticello, NY, Marcel Dekker, 1997.

JAMA. 1997;277(19):1564-1565. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540430076041

Pericardial diseases can be considered to represent an orphan specialty. The subject spans the various medical and surgical specialties. Scientific advances have changed this field less than many other fields of medicine. Bedside skills and clinical judgment based on experience are still paramount with pericardial disease. A small number of "pericardiologists" write many of the textbook chapters and review articles. One of the most prolific is Dr David Spodick, who has now collected his thoughts and experiences in this monograph.

The subtitle "comprehensive textbook" perhaps promises too much. The book is of moderate size and reflects primarily the author's personal experiences and opinions. An interesting introductory chapter explains the perspective that influenced the project. Experimental studies are skipped, except for the conclusions. The history of the topic is skipped, perhaps because it has been amply covered elsewhere, including by Spodick.1 Coverage is deliberately unbalanced in length and detail,