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Books, Journals, New Media
December 2, 1998

Acid-BaseUnderstanding Acid-Base

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association


by Benjamin Abelow, 419 pp, with illus, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-683-18272-2, Baltimore, Md, Williams & Wilkins, 1998.

JAMA. 1998;280(21):1872. doi:10.1001/jama.280.21.1872-JBK1202-2-1

This 400-page text is intended to clarify bodily pH regulation and disorders. It does this in prose and diagram, moving from chemistry to clinic in a stepwise fashion. The book is probably too detailed for the busy resident in medicine but may be just right for a fellow in nephrology or critical care medicine.

Reading all the way through provides a good review of the topic. I was reminded of the notion that buffer capacity is maximal when the environment's pH and a buffer's pK are closest. The time frame for compensation of pH disturbances—hours for metabolic ones, days for respiratory ones—is clearly explained. The utility of the measurement of plasma K+ concentration in diagnosis of acid-base disorders is helpfully reviewed, even if that explanation is a bit wordy. The notion of adjusted pO2, new to me, is helpfully explained, even though it is not directly a pH issue.

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