A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis

Saves You Hours of Tedious Work




Your First Patient

Imagine examining your first patient. For hours beforehand, you pore over your textbooks, compiling information and making lists of things to ask and do.

What if you had a short guide to examining a patient? You could just follow a list of questions to ask and step-by-step instructions of what to do.

Instead of floundering around, flipping through dozens of textbooks, trying to decide what to ask, you spend your time more wisely learning the correct techniques for diagnosing a patient’s issue.

You know exactly what you need to do, and during the time with the patient, you practice physical diagnosis instead of trying to decide what to do next.

Too Much Information

Let’s face it: medical students have to learn huge amounts of information and can’t memorize everything.

The essential information learned in textbooks and lectures becomes a burden because there’s simply too much of it to absorb.

When you enter an examining room and meet a patient, you need to apply your knowledge to the practical situation at hand.

With the proper guidelines, you can establish good habits for a lifetime while you practice the techniques described for examining each system of the body.

When you have all the salient information gathered into a concise set of lists and instructions, you can follow the instructions and gain experience and understanding of the physical diagnosis process.

What You Need to Know

One short book (150 pages) contains everything you need to know while you’re examining a patient.

Use the list of general Review of Systems questions for every patient. Then access the specific Review of Systems questions for the system of the body that troubles your patient.

Each short section present specific techniques used to examine one bodily system. For example, if your patient’s chief concern is pain in the abdomen, you can access the section on Examination of the Abdomen right away.

One Practical Guide

The convenient and useful book, A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis, presents all the questions you need to ask and descriptions of how to examine each bodily system in one practical guide for actual interaction with patients.

Save time and aggravation. Stop worrying what you don’t know. This is all that you need to know. The 150-page book explains what to ask and what to do.

You’ll gain time to spend on other work and avoid floundering and appearing stupid or incompetent when faced with an actual patient.

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Check out the Contents of A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis:


  • Part I: Introduction
  • Part II: History
    • Approach to the Patient
    • Chief Concern (CC)
    • History of Present Illness (HPI)
    • Past History
    • Family History
    • Social History
    • Review of Systems (ROS)
      • General Review of Systems (ROS)
      • Specific (Comprehensive) Review of Systems
    • Biopsychosocial History
  • Part III: Physical Examination
    • Inspection
    • Palpation
    • Percussion
    • Auscultation
  • Examination of General Appearance and Vital Signs
    • General Appearance:
    • Vital Signs
  • Examination of the Head and Neck
    • Head
    • Eyes
    • Ears
    • Nose (nasal skeleton and nasal sinuses)
    • Oral Cavity
    • Neck
  • Examination of the Chest and Back (Anterior Chest and Posterior Chest)
    • Posterior Chest:
    • Anterior Chest:
  • Examination of the Breast
    • Inspection
    • Palpation:
  • Examination of the Heart
    • Sitting up.
    • Lying down.
  • Examination of the Abdomen
    • Inspection:
    • Auscultation:
    • Percussion:
    • Palpation:
    • Inspection and palpation of the femoral area:
  • Examination of the Rectum
  • Examination of the Male Genital Tract
  • Examination of the Female Genital Tract (Pelvic Examination)
  • Examination of the Peripheral Vascular System
  • Examination of the Musculoskeletal System
    • Jaw
    • Spine
    • Shoulder
    • Elbow
    • Wrist and Hand
    • Hip and Thigh
    • Knee
    • Ankle and Foot
  • Examination of the Neurological System
    • Reflexes
    • Cerebellar function
  • Examination of the Skin
    • Skin lesions
    • Hair
    • Nails
    • Palms of the Hands and Soles of the Feet
  • Appendices
    1. Mini Mental Examination
    2. Sexual History
      • Screening Sexual History
      • Detailed Sexual History
    3. Substance Related Disorders (Including Alcohol)
    4. Domestic Violence
    5. Musculoskeletal System – Specialized Examination Technique
      • GALS
      • Shoulder
      • Thumb
      • Wrist
      • Back
      • Knee
  • Part IV: Cheat Sheets
    • Cheat Sheet 1: History taking
    • Cheat Sheet 2: Physical Examination

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Praise for A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis

John A. Crocco, M.D. has undoubtedly written the best comprehensive, condensed, practical textbook, A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis, on the history and physical examination for medical school and practicing physicians ever written. The textbook is a fresh approach to learning the topic of history and physical examination, being both concise and thorough. The textbook delivers its contents in an organized easily remembered format from which medical students can learn and practicing physicians can refresh their knowledge.

The bedrock of medical education today reviews the history and physical examination. In the tests available today, which is certainly to become outdated in the future by a newer and better mousetrap, the history and physical examination remains and will remain the immutable foundation for physicians to utilize the tools of modern technology in a rational, cost-effective way to more rapidly diagnose and appropriately treat our patients.

One can find no better guide than John A. Crocco, M.D.’s A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis to arm oneself for a successful career in medicine for students and practitioners alike.

Louis P. Cardi, M.D.
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Member Occupational Residency Advisory Board, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Corporate Medical Director (retired), Johnson & Johnson
Certified American College of Internal Medicine
Certified American College of Occupational Medicine

John A. Crocco, M.D. is an excellent physician, and a superb diagnostician and educator. He has written a concise, practical text on physical diagnosis. A Primer in Adult Physical Diagnosis will benefit students and physicians alike.

Well-written, easy to read and comprehend, this book should be owned by every medical student and resident. A teacher's greatest pleasure is to see a pupil use the knowledge learned. This book is a means to that end.

Alan K. Tannenbaum,M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Crocco’s Primer on Physical Diagnosis is a gem. This text is ideal for the medical student always deluged with mountains of information to prioritize and acquire. It delivers the “need to know” essentials clearly and succinctly. In fact, I use it as a guide when I teach the [Physical Diagnosis] course.

Roy Carman, M.S., M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

...very well written, easy to understand, and very clear
...how to do a proper physical diagnosis

Mary Yurashevich, medical student
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

I felt the book was informative as well as well-written. It is an appropriate length to be used as a guide and truly focuses on the most important aspects of taking a history, etc.

I look forward to re-reading it before my second year begins...a great refresher!

Gianna Casini, medical student
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School