Book Review: Acid-Base Case Studies, 2e

By | 22 January, 2013

I’ve been looking at Acid-Base Case Studies (2004) by Ira Kurtz MD for a long time now, at least since I’ve written several months ago, wrongly, that a solid book with a case-based approach to acid-base disorders does not exist. It does in fact exist, and this is it.

The book presents the reader with dozens of  clinical scenarios and dissects them from an acid-base standpoint. Cases covered include diabetic ketoacidosis, methanol intoxication, salicylate poisoning, and many other common and rare clinical scenarios. The problems range from straightforward to highly complex.

The philosophy of the book can perhaps be summed up with this quote:

“If more than one acid-base disorder is present in a patient, there is frequently more than one pair of diagnoses that can account for the values of the acid-base parameters. A good clinical assessment is often helpful in distinguishing between the various possible acid-base diagnoses.”

(p. 86)

In other words, one doesn’t solve acid-base problems; rather, one interprets the values in a manner that fits the clinical situation. These is where many acid-base books get it wrong, and where Acid-Base Case Studies gets it exactly right.

acid-base-case-studies-ira-kurtz

Acid-base interpretation is relevant to every branch of medicine so few, if any, learners would not benefit from mastering this book inside out. And while many medical books contain lots of clinical “pearls,” this book is almost all pearls. It seems as though almost every case presented was, is, or should be, a Board question somewhere.

Get it. It’s one of the best medical books of all time.

By Mark Yoffe MD

[Please read important Disclaimer.]

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