Conn's Current Therapy1998
edited by Robert E. Rake, MD, 1360 pp, with 42 illustrations, $59, ISBN 0-7216-7223-X, Philadelphia, Pa, WB Saunders Co, 1998.
Reviewer Charles E. Driscoll, MD
Arch Fam Med. 1999;8:357.
I have trouble imagining any family physician who has never seen and used a copy of Conn's Current Therapy, so the general format should be familiar to all. This annual effort has for years successfully covered the most common medical and surgical problems encountered in primary care to update the physician on current thinking and practice. This edition is the 50th Anniversary Edition, but other than a sparkling gold cover, it appears very similar to prior editions. The fact that it remains so much the same in format from year to year is what makes it ultimately so usable in everyday practice.
All the chapters are written from the perspective of the preferred method of the consultant author and contain numerous, helpful tables that present the "nuts and bolts" of management of the particular problem under discussion. For example, the chapter on congestive heart failure contains tables on "causes of acute decompensation of heart failure," "indications for hospitalization for heart failure," and "medicines commonly used for heart failure." These tables alone can get you past a brain block when you are under pressure for quick information. When I consulted the book for help regarding the management of my patient with deep venous thrombosis, I found a table outlining a protocol for intravenous administration of heparin and a discussion of thrombolytic usage that matches up very well with what I have learned from my own local consultants. I have always believed the information presented in Conn's Current Therapy was reliable and up-to-date.
Conn's Current Therapy is enhanced by the addition of the most commonly used disease and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes to the inside front cover and overleaf, and by tables of reference intervals for the interpretation of laboratory tests. This book has become a standard reference for the busy practitioner and rightly so because as a single source for rapid consultation on a particular medical problem, it will always refresh the memory and add a new idea or two to consider in the patient's management.