May 20, 2009

Chemistries, Part I

Precious Bodily Fluids (love the name and title image, by the way, nice punny homage!) offers a quick way to view acid-base problems in an excel sheet in a post entitled "Introducing the Acid-Base Machine."

Acid-Base problems are awful awful MENSA problems for docs:
It sounds most excellent and fun in principle, but in practice they are bewildering and difficult and I just want to give up on them. Unlike the dusty MENSA book that has sat on my bookshelf since 10th grade, I cannot afford to ignore Acid-Base problems.
Aptly named, they burn like acids and bases and seem to exist just to torture medical students! Meanwhile, the attending recites Winter's formula, calculates it in 2 seconds flat and proceeds to lecture about the ventilator settings for their patient, leaving bewildered faces in their oh-so-glorious wake.

Thankfully, I haven't found myself quite in those shoes (on either side yet!) So I've still got a shot to get this sort of thing right without looking like some pretentious IM buffoon. (Nor have I met any such IM buffoons. I imagine it's a common occurrence though.)

I am by no means advanced in my understanding of Acid-Base problems.
For the teaching of this challenging subject, I defer to some experts:
Acid Base Online Tutorial by University of Connecticut
Clinical Cases and Images: Acid-Base Cases and Calculators
Resident and Staff Physician: Top Ten Clinical Pearls in Acid-Base Disorders

Acid Base Handout (Student)

Finally, my meager acid base step-by-step handout scrounged from a lecture.
Stay tuned for the continuation on this series, in which I review my hardest paper case yet!

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