gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

M. Spallek: Medizin kompakt: Die Quintessenz des medizinischen Wissens

book report medicine

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  • corresponding author Matthias Angstwurm - Klinikum der LMU München, Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, München, Deutschland

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2012;29(3):Doc39

doi: 10.3205/zma000809, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0008092

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: December 14, 2011
Revised: January 11, 2012
Accepted: January 12, 2012
Published: May 15, 2012

© 2012 Angstwurm.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

Bibliographical details

M. Spallek

Medizin kompakt: Die Quintessenz des medizinischen Wissens

Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag, Köln

year of publication: 2011, 175 pages, € 29,95

ISBN: 978-3-7691-1288-7


"The essence of medical knowledge" has been summed up in this small, practical paperback. It tackles topics ranging from diagnoses, differential diagnoses, and medications down to major diseases, covering a broad spectrum for general practitioners. The illnesses covered range from internal diseases, obstetrics, gynaecology and ENT to neurology, psychiatry and urology.

The didactic structure of this compendium enables clinically-oriented students or young assistants to develop a structured approach to diagnostics and taking medical histories at the beginning of their training for workplace or emergency situations.

The booklet begins with a chapter on 35 frequent cardinal patient symptoms such as “abdominal pain”, converting the clinical information given by patients into the technical language of differential diagnoses. The diagnoses are partly divided by area of expertise so that the system is transparent to the learner.

Following the cardinal symptoms, the book moves onto individual differential diagnoses, partly ordered by discipline. At the start of some disciplines, frequently encountered difficulties in the interpretation of medical findings are summarised in tables, so that certain diagnoses become more likely based on the history and physical examination. But this useful structure is not adhered to in each chapter. In general, it would make it easier for young practitioners to conduct relevant differential diagnoses based on the clinical approach. What should be emphasised in particular is the compact presentation of the diseases, amongst which relevant emergencies are highlighted. This allows diagnoses to be identified which should not be overlooked. For each diagnosis, key points about the aetiology, diagnosis and treatment are given. The compendium is rounded off by a list of drugs, including indications, dosages and relevant side effects or contraindications.

The compendium “Medizin kompakt” thus is not a textbook and cannot be expected to constitute further reading but makes it possible, in practice and perhaps in preparation for oral examinations, to tackle acute problems of a patient in a structured way. The essential points of the individual diagnoses are summarised in the style of flashcards. However, therapy and diagnosis steps can only be touched upon and in some cases, this is done only very superficially and imprecisely. The compact size and form of “Medizin kompakt” means it can be recommended as an initial coat pocket book for interns or students in the Practical Year.

Competing interests

The author declare that he has no competing interests.