Author: Michael T. Ashworth, MD
Publisher: Cambridge University Press – 348 pages
Book Review by: Nano Khilnani

In recent years, there have been:

  • An explosion of pediatric transplant programs
  • Enormous developments in genetics
  • Surging knowledge-understanding of fetal cardiac pathology and congenital heart disease
  • The emergence of a flourishing cardiac imaging discipline

Despite these strides, there have been no books published on pediatric cardiac pathology, the author points out. This book is Dr. Ashworth’s contribution to fill that gap. He provides you the readers, the benefit of his knowledge, experience, and insight with this book, with coverage of the following subjects that are the titles of its chapters:

  1. The Anatomy of the Normal Heart
  2. Examination of the Heart
  3. Development of the Heart
  4. Congenital Heart Disease I
  5. Congenital Heart Disease II
  6. Ischemia and Infarction
  7. Cardio-myopathy
  8. Inflammation of the Myocardium, Endocardium and Aorta
  9. The Coronary Arteries
  10. Metabolic and Storage Disease
  11. Pericardium
  12. Fetal Cardiovascular Disease
  13. Tumors
  14. Heart Transplantation
  15. Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young

This book is richly illustrated with numerous full-color images. Many of them are anatomical photographs of diseased parts, and where detail is necessary for deeper understanding, micro-graphs are provided. In all instances, clear, detailed explanations are provided in the captions.

All the materials presented in the chapters are very well organized and presented, enabling the medical student, resident, or fellow to easily and quickly locate what he or she is looking for. Each chapter has a long list of reference sources at its end, helpful in finding additional information needed for deeper understanding of a given topic and answers to questions sought. The detailed Index is an additional tool in this effort.

To better appreciate the value of this rare book that fills a definite void, let us take a closer look at one of its chapters. Chapter 4 – Congenital Heart Disease I – presents 120 graphics within it 42 pages: an average of almost three per page, with detailed captions. This chapter’s content is organized with following topics and subtopics:

  • Introduction
  • Ventrical Septal Defect (VSD)
  • Atrioventrical Septal Defect (AVSD)
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Abnormalities of the Arterial Duct
  • Absence of the Arterial Duct
  • Normal Closure
  • Premature Closure in Utero
  • Persistent Patency of the Duct
  • Aneurysm of the Duct
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Pulmonary Stenosis and Atresia, Including Tetralogy of the Fallot
  • Pulmonary Atresia with Intact Interventricular Septum
  • Pulmonary Stenosis with Intact Interventricular Septum
  • Pulmonary Stenosis with VSD, Including Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Pulmonary Atresia with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
  • Absence of the Pulmonary Valve
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Valvar Stenosis
  • Subvalvar Stenosis
  • Supravalvar Stenosis
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries
  • Complete Transposition
  • Arterial Switch Operation
  • Atrial Switch Operations (Mustard and Senning)
  • Rastelli Operation
  • Congenitally Corrected Transposition
  • Common Arterial Trunk (Truncus Arteriosus)
  • References

This book is a pioneering gem in the rapidly growing specialty of pediatric cardiac pathology, about which much knowledge has been gained but much has been published. This book then is a welcome beacon in this field, and we heartily applaud the author Dr. Michael Ashworth for his initiative and prescient effort.



Dr. Michael T. Ashworth is a Consultant Pediatric Pathologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He trained at University College Dublin, and takes special research interests in heart and pulmonary disease in children, and has written numerous papers, review articles and book chapters in these subjects