Book/blog Review – Fluid, electrolyte and acid-base companion/PB fluids.com

The fluid, electrolyte and acid-base companion was written by Sarah Faubel, MD and Joel Topf, MD. Joel writes the very well-produced nephrology blog PB (Precious body) Fluids. More on that later.

The book’s 591 pages describe bodily homeostasis in regards to fluid and electrolyte balance as well as the various pathologies that can arise from imbalances. Included are both theoretical explanations of the anatomy and physiology underlying these concepts as well as clinical assessment and treatment information. What I like most about this book is the organizational approach the authors took, similar to Dale Dubin’s Rapid Interpretation of EKGs. Most pages have a large, very well illustrated, image at the top. After some easy to navigate theory there are short questions at the bottom. For a learner with a poor (I mean really poor) background in chemistry and biology I digested each section very quickly.


Why, on a prehospital care/fire rescue site, would I review a book on renal medicine and bodily homeostasis you may be wondering. For one, and incidentally the answer to numerous similar questions, because I am a closet nerd. Second, because Joel graciously provides the book for free online. The complete PDF is also available for download. And third because I feel renal physiology and nephrology are some of the least understood domains amongst the prehospital care community. I am extremely guilty of this. If the topic arrises in an article or within a case study I nod politely and focus intently on limiting the degree of terror my features betray.

… so it turned out to be acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. “You know I thought about that but decided it was probably a case of ‘Sorry Sir, you said you have been …*uncomfortable cough*… peeing coca-cola?'”

My philosophy on learning is analogous to flossing. If considerable time has elapsed between flossing then the harder-to-reach areas within teeth will probably produce discomfort. One can either remove the offending floss and basque in the, short term, comfort or confront the disguised weakness head-on. In line with this thinking I keep two nephrology blogs within my daily RSS read. I decided on Dr. Simon Prince’s Uremic Frost and Dr. Topf’s Precious Body fluids. Both writers produce an excellent blog and I encourage you to add them to your RSS feeds as well.

Precious Body fluids is an allusion to commentary by General Buck Turgidson in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Joel does a great job producing the blog and captivates interest in a potentially intimidating and very intellectual field. His use of candor and skill with a Macbook play a big part in this. I find the material to be a healthy mix of applicable information for acute care as well as gentle challenges to learn about one of the body’s most important functions. See also: “The Kidneys” post

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One Response to “Book/blog Review – Fluid, electrolyte and acid-base companion/PB fluids.com”

  1. Now the quote “Precious bodily fluids” is by General Jack Ripper, the base commander of Burbleson Airbase. General “Buck” Turgidson is quite a bit less insane and spends the movie in the War Room.

    Thanks for the review. Very flattering.

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