This page is intended to serve as a guide to selected resources on differential diagnosis.
The first listings are databases to which the UIC Library subscribes. These can be accessed by
anyone from the Library of the Health Sciences or elsewhere on the UIC campus. Access from
other locations is limited to UIC students, faculty, and staff who have a valid netID and password.
A link to freely available Web sources is also included, as are books in the LHS collection
(note that some books are also available in online, full-text format to UIC users).
Successful differential diagnosis often depends heavily on medical
testing. For resources related to medical testing in clinical and
laboratory settings, click here.
For further information or assistance, contact Information
FirstConsult provides access to a wide variety of tools useful in diagnostic decisionmaking.
Designed for use in both clinical and educational settings, FirstConsult includes sections titled
"Differential diagnoses" (in which you can search for conditions by symptom), "Medical conditions,"
"Procedure Files," and "Patient Education."
Essential Evidence Plus (formerly INFOPOEMS) contains a large set of evidence-based
decisionmaking tools for clinicians.
CINAHL - (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature)
CINAHL indexes articles from more than 500 journals in nursing and allied health sciences.
Full text is available for some articles. The default search option in CINAHL is a search
of CINAHL subject headings rather than articles. This can allow you to start with a term like
"HIV," get to "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome," and then "acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome/diagnosis." Searching for the term "differential diagnosis" can lead you to "
diagnosis, differential/methods," which you can combine with your previous search to get
a small set of relevant results.
PubMed is a vast database of medical journal articles maintained by the National Library
of Medicine (NLM). You can search PubMed as you would any search engine, but your search
is more likely to be productive if you start out in NLM's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Database. The MeSH
database allows you to search for the "official" terms that the NLM uses to describe
particular diseases, medical tests, and other terms related to medicine and medical research.
You can easily transfer one or more MeSH terms to PubMed and begin a search for actual articles.
Images MD allows you to search through thousands of medical images (including photographs,
x-rays, cardiograms, CT scans, sonograms, etc.) by either subject, key word, or medical specialty.
Images include captions which in many cases discuss the use of the image in diagnosis.
UIC users can register for an account (it's free). Registered users can create collections of
images that can then be exported in Powerpoint format.
Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries: Clinical Diagnostic Tools on the Web and PDA
Put together by the staff of Dartmouth College's Biomedical Libraries, this page contains
links to a superb set of free diagnosis-related resources on the web (including links to
freeware and shareware that can be downloaded for use on PDAs). The page has a strong
focus on evidence-based diagnosis.
National Library of Medicine
(NLM) Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Database
The MeSH database allows you to search for the "official" terms that the National
Library of Medicine uses to describe particular conditions, diseases, diagnostic methods,
etc. Finding these official terms makes it easier and more productive to search
PubMed, the database of
medical journal articles maintained by the National Library of Medicine. Access to
PubMed is free, but UIC patrons can search a version of PubMed that contains links
to UIC's full-text e-journals (see above under "databases").
The books listed here are general introductory sources. This is by no means a complete list of all
diagnosis-related books available in the Library of the Health Sciences. Many more books are located in the
reference section and the book stacks. To find additional books not listed in this section please search the
online catalog at
or ask for assistance at the
Reference desk. Click on the call numbers below for availability information.
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment
Edited by Lawrence M. Tierney, Stephen J. McPhee, and Maxine A. Papadakis
online in full-text format to UIC users.
Billed as a must-have diagnostic reference source for family physicians, internists, and other
generalists, the CMDT may also be of use to residents, medical students, nurse practitioners
and physician assistants. Designed for quick skimming, CMDT begins with a set of chapters on
special topics (e.g., common symptoms, end of life care) and then moves to more than 40 chapters
on different organ systems and medical specialties. Organization of the chapters is quite
consistent, and much key information is presented in charts and tables.
Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment
Edited by William W. Hay, Anthony R. Hayward, Myron J. Levin, and Judith M. Sondheimer
online in full-text format to UIC users.
This book provides a a very broad overview of the diagnosis, understanding, and treatment of
pediatric patients. The book includes almost no pictures, but numerous tables compare and
contrast dignoses and diagnostic findings. Brief summaries titled "Essentials of Diagnosis &
Typical Features" precede in-depth descriptions of particular diseases and conditions. The book
is intended for practitioners but may also be of use for students and residents
during pediatric rotations.
History and Physical Examination
Paul D. Chan and Peter J. Winkle
WB39 C454h 2005
This pocket-sized manual is intended to provide guidance for medical students, residents, and
practitioners in history and physical taking. Organized by disease and symptom, it includes a
differential diagnosis for each disease.
Advanced Clinical Skills and Physical Diagnosis
WB39 B493a 2004
Provides a step-by-step approach to diagnosis and management of common clinical problems.
Topics are arranged in head-to-toe order. Each chapter covers basic and advanced physical
examination and discusses multiple possible diagnoses. Compact and user-friendly.
Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care
R. Douglas Collins
WB 141.5 C712d 2008
This textbook-style work outlines the core principles of differential diagnosis.
Diagnostic information is arranged alphabetically by symptom, and there is good
coverage of procedures and lab work needed for workup. A solid basic work.
Clinical imaging: an atlas of differential diagnosis
Ronald L. Eisenberg
WN17 E36c 2003
This book is a guide to differential diagnosis in conventional radiography, ultrasound,
and computed tomography. Presents images and descriptions side-by-side with an emphasis
on differences between conditions. Organized by system.
DSM-IV-TR Handbook of Differential Diagnosis
Michael B. First, Allen Frances, and Harold Alan Pincus
WM141 F527d 2002
Contains clear guidelines on differential diagnosis for psychiatric practitioners and trainees.
Useful features include side-by-side comparisons of disorders whose clinical manifestations may
be similar, and decision trees that assist the practitioner in moving from common presenting
symptoms to a final diagnosis.