From The New England Journal of Medicine
For most students of medicine, acid-base homeostasis (and its disorders) remains an elusive and arcane subject. This is not surprising: the concepts underlying the clinical management of acid-base homeostasis are complex, involving chemistry as well as physiology, and textbooks on the subject often fail to communicate these concepts clearly. Understanding Acid-Base is a remarkably successful attempt to cut through this complexity and to present the subject unambiguously....
All the aspects of the book have been given meticulous attention, from the instructive approach to the structure and content of each chapter. The book is organized into five distinct sections: chemistry, physiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment. As the author indicates in the introduction, each is self-contained so that readers can pick a section of interest to read as a "stand alone," depending on their level of knowledge of the subject. The book is so readable, however, that readers can quickly move from one section to the next to get more information.
The first section is preceded by a brief review of the fundamentals, including the definitions of "ion," "mole," and "equivalent." This chapter sets the stage: throughout the book, there is no ambiguity, and there is nothing that is not explained completely. Each section ends with a comprehensive self-assessment quiz, with answers provided, in classic textbook fashion. Although the book focuses on the information necessary to understand and manage acid-base disorders, a valuable feature is the appendix, which covers specific areas in more depth. Readers can peruse these areas or not, depending on their level of interest. The appendix is brief and readable as well....
The clarity, instructive style, and readability of Understanding Acid-Base make it one of the best in the field both for beginning students and for those who want to refresh their basic knowledge in the area....
Copyright © 1998 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.
After finishing Benjamin Abelow's Understanding Acid-Base, I feel confident making two statements: I learned a remarkable amount of new information on a subject I thought I was well versed on; and this text will soon become "The Manual" of acid-base balance.
The book begins with a review of fundamentals that is both comprehensive and succinct. Section 1, Chemistry, was dry reading but absolutely essential to understanding how the author has conceptualized learning the subject matter. The text is filled with mnemonics, illustrations, and clinical notes, all ensuring that the reader understands the area discussed. Section 2, Physiology, and section 3, Pathophysiology, were a joy to read. The author has a gift of presenting complex processes with ease as clinically relevant explanations. When read in sequence each section, although designed to stand alone, guides the reader through the complicated world of acid-base balance. This book is filled with the ah-ha's we all look for when trying to teach our students or understand our patient's status. Each section concludes with a self-assessment quiz with the answers reviewing the section points. This aids in the reader's sense of mastery and knowledge acquisition.
Section 3, Pathophysiology, and 4, Diagnosis, should be required reading for every nursing student. Once again, Abelow uses clear, easy to understand concepts in describing the clinical causes of the four primary acid-base disturbances. His illustrations and mnemonics are strong enough to stay with the reader long after the section is completed. The discussion of anion gap is by far the most effective explanation I have ever read. His clear language, superb illustrations, and thoughtful style all culminate in the reader's sense of knowing.
Section 5 reviews the treatment of the disorders in a global context; therefore, if specific guidelines are necessary, additional sources will be required. The Appendix: Continuing Education provides an increased depth of coverage for those who wish to explore specific content areas.
I predict Abelow will forever be associated with acid-base, as Dubin is with EKG, or Bates with physical assessment. Understanding Acid-Base has the unique fortune of informing the generalist and enlightening the specialist. It is a "must buy" for all acute care nurse practitioners and critical care nurses. Reviewed by Linda Honan Pellico, RN, CS, MSN, CCRN, Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Conn. Reprinted with permission from Critical Care Nurse, vol 18, no. 3, June 1999, Aliso Viejo, CA. -- Critical Care Nurse
As a nephrologist and a lecturer to undergraduate and graduate students, I have read many books, articles, and long chapters on the subject of acid-base. This book is certainly one that will stand out. The author has masterfully integrated basic science with clinical medicine. He has turned complex concepts into easy-to-follow and even enjoyable reading without being overly simplistic or pedestrian. In fact, both the novice and a specialist will enjoy reading this book, a task that is quite difficult for an author to achieve. I highly recommend it to medical students, residents, and fellows in training. Reviewed by B. Peter Sawaya, M.D. (University of Kentucky College of Medicine) -- Doody's Review Service: 5 Stars (highest rating)
I personally enjoyed reviewing this book. The text is well written and reads quickly. Definitions of important terms are discussed early and the many well-done illustrations are used expertly to teach difficult concepts. Throughout the text, the author strives to relate acid-base concepts to the clinical setting with relevant explanations involving imagined patients. The questions and answers at the end of each section are well constructed and definitely help to solidify the reader's knowledge of an area....
I found this book to be helpful to the clinician at any level of training from the medical student and young house officer to the fellow and even attending physician in critical care medicine. It is especially effective in explaining the basics of acid-base disorders and its strongest area is that of providing and excellent foundation in the interpretation of acid-base disorders. I feel that this book...could become the standard introductory acid-base text for anyone who has to deal with these disorders in clinical medicine.--Reviewed by Harry Ulrich, M.D. -- Critical Care Medicine
Understanding Acid-Base is the best introduction to acid-base that I have seen. Nothing else even comes close. It is the only text I know that makes the essential concepts readily accessible to the non-specialist. It is ideal for medical students and residents. It will also be of great benefit to more experienced readers, such as fellows and practicing physicians. I expect it will become the standard introduction for those studying acid-base.--Nicolaos E. Madias, Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Chief, Division of Nephrology, New England Medical Center. From the back cover of the book. -- Nicolaos E. Madias, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine
[T]his book is an excellent basic resource in the area of acid-base for the medical student during both their preclinical years and their clinical years, as well as for residents in all areas of medicine, pediatrics, and surgery. Physicians beginning subspecialty fellowships in areas in which the need to evaluate and care for patients with acid-base disturbances (emergency medicine, intensive care, nephrology, chest diseases, etc.), and all physicians wanting a current update in acid-base will find that the book provides a thorough and readable review. Faculty responsible for teaching acid-base physiology and pathophysiology may also make effective use of this basic text. Reviewed by Jacob Lemann, Jr., M.D. (Nephrology Section, Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA) -- American Journal of Kidney Diseases
[Understanding Acid-Base] is truly ideal for medical students, far surpassing any previously published text on this subject. A student who purchased this book on the first day of medical school and had integrated its contents by the time of graduation would be able to explain acid-base problems not only to his or her fellow students, but also to first- and second-year residents. Its paperback format and low price should ensure a wide readership in medical schools. Reviewed by Michele B. Wagner, M.D (Division of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA) -- Annals of Emergency