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Maladies et syndromes systémiques. Eds M-F Kahn, A-P Peltier, O Meyer, J-C Piette. (Pp 1500; Ff 1295.) Paris: Médecine-Sciences Flammarion, 2000. ISBN 9-782257-142993.
The first edition of Les Maladies Systémiques was edited by M-F Kahn and A-P Peltier in 1982. The objective of the authors was to publish a textbook in French describing in a comprehensive manner the different aspects of diffuse inflammatory diseases. For this important task, the editors were helped by several experts in rheumatology and immunology. This first edition and the subsequent editions (1985 and 1991) were an important success among physicians having an interest in inflammatory diseases. Two other editors, J-C Piette and O Meyer, and several experienced academic clinicians contributed to the fourth edition, Les Maladies et Syndromes Systémiques. This latest edition has benefited from the knowledge accumulated during the past 10 years and contains 12 additional chapters.
Les Maladies et Syndromes Systémiques is divided into five sections. The first section gives some background on the pathological basis of inflammatory diseases. The chapter on inflammation provides the most recent information on cytokines and other mediators of the inflammatory response. Recent knowledge on the development of autoimmunity and on the HLA system is also included in this section. One chapter describes in a comprehensive manner the different laboratory tests for patients with inflammatory conditions.
The second and third sections include several chapters on inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The chapter on systemic lupus erythematosus is the longest (238 pages, 3436 references) and can be considered as an outstanding overview on this disease. The reader can obtain a large amount of information on the pathophysiological basis of lupus, its clinical presentation, the laboratory tests commonly used in patients with autoimmune diseases, and on the management of the different clinical problems of patients with lupus. The other chapters included in these two sections provide a deal of valuable information on the pathological basis and the clinical aspects of several connective tissue diseases and on different types of vasculitis.
The fourth and fifth sections include several chapters on systemic manifestations of common and rare diseases and on miscellaneous systemic conditions, respectively. The subjects included in these sections are diverse, including some chapters on dermatological conditions, inflammatory bowel diseases, systemic manifestations of cancer, amyloidosis, primary immune deficiencies, and rare systemic disorders occurring during childhood.
Throughout the book, several tables summarise the text for the reader. The information is easy to find in the index and the different abbreviations used in the text are listed at the end of the book. For educational purposes it would have been useful to include more illustrations and colour pictures, particularly in the case of rare diseases.
Les Maladies et Syndromes Systémiques is a unique source of information on inflammatory and immune mediated systemic diseases. The target readership is broad, including trainees and specialists in rheumatology working in academic institutions or in private practice. It is a pity that this book will be read only by French speaking physicians.
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