Gastrointestinal Anatomy and Physiology: The Essentials
A relatively detailed understanding of normal organ structure and function is essential to adequately evaluate, diagnose, and manage disease. The American Board of Internal Medicine has endorsed this proposition by including questions about the normal anatomy and physiology of digestive organs in the Gastroenterology Certification Examination. According to a statement published by the Board, approximately 10% of the Certification Examination questions test knowledge of these subjects.
Many years ago, during our training, we had our first discussion of how best to learn about gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology. Predominantly regional organization made it difficult to acquire an overall understanding of many important topics by studying some standard texts: in these books, conceptually related information about microscopic anatomy, motility, absorption and secretion, and of other topics was divided among chapters principally devoted to major organs, for example, the stomach or the small bowel. In addition, the overwhelming quantity of information in reference works made finding and selecting the details that were relevant to clinical practice a near-impossible task, at least from the point of view of two novice practitioners.
Several years later, we were able to persuade the members of the Educational Affairs Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology to allow us to create a review course dedicated exclusively to the subjects of normal gastrointestinal structure and function. Until its recent discontinuation, this course was offered every other year at the College’s annual meeting in conjunction with its regular board review. Hundreds of gastroenterologists have benefited from the excellent presentations made at the course by many of the same individuals who have contributed chapters to this book.
It is, therefore, with great pleasure that we have seized the opportunity offered us by the people at Wiley to address in book form the subject of basic gastrointestinal structure and function. Our intention is to create a review from the perspective of what is needed to practice clinical gastroenterology and to present it in chapters devoted to specific topics in anatomy and physiology.
We hope you enjoy it.
John F. Reinus and Douglas Simon
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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