Crash Course: Renal and Urinary Systems

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Summary of review

Renal medicine tends to fill medical students with fear, probably because it’s a complex topic, that sits just peripherally to the core topics, and so teaching tends not be as high on the agenda.
Crash course books are generally a solid, if not spectacular investment, and the Renal and Urinary systems book is no exception.
There’s all the usual crash course goodies, for example, the “Objectives” box at the start of each chapter, the abundance of diagrams, and, of course, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology all bundled together in one book. I notice in several of the 3rd edition crash course books that the layout has been greatly improved since the 2nd editions, so that diagrams actually are in relevant positions in comparison to the text!
There’s also some MCQs at the back of the book, which are always a good selling point. However, they are actually quite tough, and not particularly in a style that you might expect to find in an exam (not at Manchester University anyway). They are basically testing your knowledge of the Renal and Urinary Systems Crash Course book, and not of the actual Renal and Urinary system. There’s very few clinical questions and a lot of physiology, which will be useful for those lower down medical school, but is a little frustrating for those in clinical years.
And so onto the content itself. Its generally pretty good, although, as with all crash course books, and as is their nature, it can be a little brief. Great for quick revision, and easy to dip in and out of, and just find a paragraph or two on the subject you want.
The simplified nature of Crash Course is great for the renal system, where it can be easy to get lost!
Nonetheless, clinical information is particularly poor, with many diseases just given a few cursory lines, and no information on diagnosis and management.
A solid book, and recommended for those in their early years. Clinical years students will still find it useful, especially for some (very) brief revision, but will likely be disappointed at the lack of relevant clinical detail, which is a pattern that seems to be shared amongst the crash course series.
Review by Tom Leach
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