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May 9, 1980

Clinical Disorders of Fluid and Electrolyte Metabolism

JAMA. 1980;243(18):1851. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300440053041

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In his foreword to the first edition of this book in 1962, Homer Smith described its 512 pages as "monumental." The present third edition of 1,616 pages with twice as many words per page has created a problem. What do you call a monument that has increased its size by 600%? Expensive for one thing and heavy for another. A calm perusal of this leviathan discloses several textbooks stitched together, many of which are thoroughly admirable and a few of which seem distinctly foreign to clinical disorders of fluid and electrolyte metabolism. Its 30 chapters range from a thermodynamic discussion of body water, to kidney function in fish and other creatures, to detailed descriptions of fluid and electrolyte metabolism in various clinical states.

Three thoughts came into my mind as I surveyed (ie, I did not carefully read) this volume. First, there are several excellent and valuable chapters not readily