Whilst there has been a plethora of books related to special tests in musculoskeletal examination, a compilation of the evaluation and testing procedures of other physiological systems of the body has been long overdue. O’Connell et al (2011) have recently published a handy volume on the special tests of the cardiopulmonary, vascular and gastrointestinal systems. The authors are experienced clinicians and educators in physical therapy and exercise physiology, thus making them suitable for being the proponents of such a review work.
The book is divided into five sections attributed to cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, peripheral vascular and sub-maximal exercise evaluation describing more than 95 special tests and examination procedures. Each section summarises specific tests and measures in a consistent layout highlighting the test position, action, normal and positive findings. The authors demonstrate not only an appreciation of the clinical aspect, but an understanding of the scientific literature as well, providing evidence based information regarding the reliability, validity, sensitivity and specificity of the tests and relevant references for each test, provided in the special considerations.
The pictures enhance understanding of testing procedure, whilst the liberal use of tables provide useful normative data in an easily accessible format, thus enhancing the text.
The book can be employed as a ready reckoner by a busy clinician or a student revising concepts just before exams, but one criticism of the book could be the lack of detailed explanations of the underlying mechanisms behind the testing procedures. In the introduction to the book, the authors have acknowledged that ‘text has been kept to a minimum so that clinician can turn to a specific page, review the text and actions, and adequately perform the assessment’. Thus it serves the purpose authors have set out to achieve.
We feel that this book can be a useful aid not only for students revising before their exams and busy clinicians in their daily practice, but also for teachers who can use this for practical demonstration of the tests and providing references to students for further study. It is a user-friendly and rich scientific resource.
Fig. 1: .
O’Connell D, O’Connell J, Hinman M (2011) Special tests of the cardiopulmonary, vascular and gastrointestinal systems.
O’Connell D, O’Connell J, Hinman M (2011) Special tests of the cardiopulmonary, vascular and gastrointestinal systems Slack Incorporated ISBN: 9781556429668, 271 pages, Price: $39.95