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December 10, 1982

Water and Electrolytes in Pediatrics: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Treatment

Author Affiliations

College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University New York


by Laurence Finberg, Richard E. Kravath, and Alan R. Fleischman, 251 pp, with illus, $37.50, Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1982.

JAMA. 1982;248(22):3037-3038. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330220077055

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Body water, its composition, distribution, and turnover, has long fascinated and confounded pediatricians. Although the principles underlying water and electrolyte metabolism apply equally well to adults, the variation in size of pediatric subjects and the age-related differences in distribution and turnover of water make this a crucially important subject for students of pediatrics and developmental physiology. Dr Finberg has been one of the major contributors to this field. This book is a distillation of his and his colleagues' experiences in teaching this subject to others.

A thorough understanding of fluid and electrolyte physiology requires facility with concepts of physical chemistry—distribution of charges across semipermeable membranes, activities of charged particles in solution, dissociation constants and buffers—concepts perhaps learned during undergraduate studies but often forgotten with relief once the bedside is reached, and therein lies the difficulty of the subject. The reader of most previous treatises becomes over-whelmed with chemistry and physics