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February 12, 1982

Diagnostic Imperatives: The Timely Detection of Treatable Disease

JAMA. 1982;247(6):888-889. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320310114060

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The stated purpose of this book is to alert clinicians to the early recognition of "diagnostic imperatives," defined by the authors as those diseases that, when untreated, lead rapidly to severe disability or death, but that, when appropriately treated, can be cured or reversed. I think that the book is successful.

The first chapter on routine health examinations adds nothing to the book, despite the attempted justification. Chapter 2 is a fine homily on clinical judgment by Proger and serves as an excellent introduction. Each of the remaining 11 chapters concerns one subspecialty of medicine and is written by an expert in that field. All but one of the experts are Boston-based. (The exception is from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.)

The chapter on "Clues to the Diagnosis of Treatable Heart Disease" by Criscitiello is one of the best and is typical in its organization. A few introductory paragraphs