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Respiratory Physiology-The Essentials [Paperback]

John B. West
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials (RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY: THE ESSENTIALS (WEST)) Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials (RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY: THE ESSENTIALS (WEST)) 4.4 out of 5 stars (18)
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Book Description

September 1994 0683089374 978-0683089370 5th
The fifth edition of this respiratory physiology textbook includes a section on the physiology of exercise. There is additional information on gas exchange in peripheral tissues, pulmonary circulation, diffusion and non-respiratory functions of the lung.

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Editorial Reviews


Doody's Book Review Service, 28-APR-08, Steven K. Hamick, BIS, RRT, AE-C, William Beaumont Hospitals -- "This eighth edition continues the gold standard tradition of its predecessors. It is well written and well laid out. Dr. West takes the complex topic of respiratory physiology, breaks it down into its individual components, and writes the specifics in a very simple, easy to understand language. This is a must-have book not only for medical and respiratory care students but for university, college, and hospital libraries."-Doody's Book Review Service (Weighted Numerical Score: 98; 5 Stars) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Williams & Wilkins; 5th edition (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0683089374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0683089370
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,824,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

UCSD School of Medicine Logo
photo of John B. West
John B. West, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.
Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology
School of Medicine
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, CA 92093-0623A
Tel: (858) 534-4192
FAX: (858) 534-4812

* Formal Curriculm Vitae
* Brief Narrative CV
* Publications:
o Books
o Articles

John West was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1928. He had the good fortune to attend an excellent high school and developed a love of science, particularly high energy physics. He considered this for a career but as was the custom then (and still is) he moved straight from high school to one of the faculties of the University of Adelaide and, for various reasons, chose medicine. He graduated with a medical degree in 1951 after the six years' course at the age of 23. After a year of residency he moved to London, partly because academic medicine was not well developed in Adelaide at the time, but also because he wanted to see the world.

He spent about 15 years in London, mainly at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, initially with Drs. Philip Hugh-Jones and Charles Fletcher. A remarkably serendipitous event occurred in 1956 when the Medical Research Council cyclotron started to produce radioactive oxygen-15. By inhaling this and looking at its disappearance from the lung, it became clear that there was a dramatic topographical inequality of blood flow caused by gravity. The mechanism of this was worked out, and this led to other studies on the effects of gravity on the lung including regional differences of ventilation, gas exchange, and alveolar size.

In 1960 he learned that Sir Edmund Hillary was planning a physiological expedition to the Himalayas, and he applied and was accepted in spite of the fact that he had never previously done any climbing. This was the so-called Silver Hut expedition where a small group of physiologists wintered at an altitude of 5800 m (19,000 ft) just south of Everest and carried out an extensive physiological program. Subsequently measurements were extended up to an altitude of 7440 m (24,400 ft) on Mt. Makalu. This began a long interest in high-altitude medicine and physiology and culminated in him leading the 1981 American Medical Research Expedition to Everest during which 5 people reached the summit, and the first physiological measurements on the summit were made. The basic scientific question addressed in these studies is how is it possible for humans to survive in the extreme oxygen deprivation of these great altitudes which are right at the limit of human tolerance. His interest in this field continues to this day with a project on oxygen enrichment of room air at high altitude which promises to be critically important for commuters who need to work at very high altitudes. He also edits a new journal, High Altitude Medicine & Biology.

Because of his interest in the effects of gravity on the lung, he thought it would be valuable to study the lung in weightlessness, and took a period of sabbatical leave at the NASA Ames Research Center in 1967-1968. During this time he submitted a proposal to NASA to study pulmonary function in astronauts. This was funded the following year and he enjoyed continuous financial support from NASA until 2006. Experiments were conducted on four Spacelabs in orbit, and on the International Space Station. Of all the organs in the body, the lung is arguably the most vulnerable to gravity, and the basic question here is how is lung function altered by exposure to weightlessness in both the short and long terms. A monograph on pulmonary function in space has recently been published by his group.

Dr. West joined the faculty of the University of California San Diego in the spring of 1969 and has been there ever since. His research has ranged over a wide field including an extensive study of ventilation-perfusion inequality in the lung. He continues an interest in the pulmonary circulation and particularly the dilemma of the blood-gas barrier which has to be both extremely thin and immensely strong. When the pressure in the pulmonary capillaries becomes high, or the lung is inflated to large volumes, stress failure of the walls of the capillaries occurs, and this phenomenon is important in a variety of lung diseases. He is addressing the basic biological question of how the blood-gas barrier of the lung is regulated so that it is sufficiently thin for efficient gas exchange yet strong enough to avoid stress failure.

Dr. West is a dedicated teacher. He was in charge of the physiology course for first year medical students at UCSD for 35 years and his little red book Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials has been translated into 13 languages and is used all over the world. He also has a strong interest in the history of medicine and has written several books on the subject. His monograph High Life is a standard history of high altitude physiology and medicine. He has developed an archival collection of material in high-altitude medicine and physiology for the special archival library at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. West has had many honors including president of the American Physiological Society, foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, founding fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, honorary doctorates from the universities of Barcelona, Ferrara and Athens, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Last updated September 12, 2008.
©2008 John B. West. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars -- perfect -- April 26, 2003
By A Customer
This book was short and concise. Extra gibberish was omitted - the remnants were a beautiful combination of text and explanations to often confusing topics. This book is perfect for any one studying respiration. This book is intended for med school students, but it is written in such a fashion that anyone could pick it up and read it. Reviewing? Cramming? Learning? This book will solve all your problems.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying January 26, 2000
By jonhaff
This is an excellent introduction to respiratory physiology suitable for medical students.
It is concise and good for last-minute revising but written in a style that is very easy on the reader. The organisation of the chapters is perfect.
My only criticism is that the oxygen and CO2 dissociation curves are not very accurately drawn, but the book is otherwise full of useful diagrams.
Well worth adding to your collection.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Guide for the lung March 31, 2004
This book was well worth the money! It was concise and helped me understand topics that were very confusing in lecture (ventilation/perfusion relationship). Plus it is a fast easy read. In 4 days I was able to read the book, understand all the important concepts and ace the exam.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A short Introduction February 1, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a compact and simple introductory book about the subject.
It covers the structure, function and illnesses of the Respiratory system. It does not have nice or clear pictures like some new print books on shiny pages but information is there. Consider it as an extention of your Physiology book on the Respiratory Systems.I found the charts that shows the changes in based on changes in variables very helpfull.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No answer explanations! June 25, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am really distracted by this - I have the current (eighth) edition and it says on the back and on the description here that the end of chapter questions have full explanations for all answer choices, which I value. Yet the appendix at the back is just an answer key with no explanations at all, just letters. This is really distracting to me, I keep thinking they must be somewhere! But it's not that big of a book. They totally aren't there, they aren't anywhere - it makes me not trust anything this book says, if they're going to screw that up so blatantly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars poorly written April 4, 2010
This book does not explain concepts very clearly. There are other more lucid texts available for this subject. Most of the figures in the book are graphs (2D cartesian plots) which are poorly explained in either the captions or the main text. My reading of this book was largely supplemented by accessing other resources because the book's poorly written style is not conducive to learning the material.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and concise April 28, 2009
By Seddy X
I've read both Nunn and West's respiratory physiology. Although Nunn's has got more detail, I think West's book is written better. Another good supplement for reading respiratory physiology is in Miller's anaesthesia.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book May 14, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This one's a great book for lung mechanics. So far it has been very useful for my respiratory course. I would rate 4.9/5
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st year veterinary student - required text for respiratory physiology...
This text is very easy to read and easy to understand. Although it was required text, I think it would be a good purchase either way. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marilyn Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars .
I always select a book in good conditions or better and this one met my expectations. Thank you I am very happy with my purchase.
Published 4 months ago by Joan Crane
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise, and very effective!
I love Dr. West's Physiology series. Great explanations with very clear diagrams. Will be referring to this book in the future, too..
Published 7 months ago by KW
5.0 out of 5 stars Respiratory Physiology
Excellent, clear, concise review of all the basics of pulmonary physiology. A must for any physiology teacher or student. Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by Farid
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read & Thorough
From West himself, it doesn't get any easier to read/understand than this book. Very concise and thorough. Recommend for anyone and everyone in healthcare.
Published on August 15, 2011 by Brad
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre review book, terrible textbook
I have revised my review of this book. I first gave it 1-star.

As a textbook, it is horrible; far too short, abbreviated explanations, not enough/poor pictures for... Read more
Published on May 30, 2011 by T
5.0 out of 5 stars Es bueno
The book is pretty good for the heavy hitters in pulmonary, of course you'll need the patho book to go along with it, so nice of them to separate it for us.......
Published on March 18, 2011 by LongRodSilver
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, but not for the faint of heart
Invariably, if you are studying pulmonary physiology or respiratory systems or anesthesia or anything involving the lung, you have heard of "West's zones of the lung. Read more
Published on October 12, 2010 by andrea chrisman
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for physiology course and boards!
Don't think twice. Buy it. You need it. It's a tiny book and can be read in a day.
Published on March 22, 2010 by VCA
3.0 out of 5 stars Half of book was upside down
Part of the book was bound in reverse. I just would have like to have known ahead of time. Other wise the book is good condition and it came promptly.
Published on March 10, 2010 by Applestooranges
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