Introduction to Stewart’s Model of Physiological Acid-Base Chemistry

edX Introduction to Stewart’s Model of Physiological Acid-Base Chemistry

University of the Witwatersrand
3-4 hours a week
3 weeks
Paid Certificate Available
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Clinical acid-base chemistry forms an integral part of the education of medical professionals, and is essential for the management of many patients in an acute care setting.

Traditional approaches to this topic make use of over-simplified arguments which introduce a number of ambiguities and explanatory inadequacies.

In this course, you will learn about Stewart’s model and how it uses a formal solution equilibrium approach which facilitates a clearer understanding of the process. A number of clinical examples are given to illustrate the power of this approach and the contrast with the more traditional teaching of the subject.

What you'll learn
  • Essential concepts in solution and acid-base chemistry.
  • Basics of aqueous solutions
  • A step-wise approach whereby a simple aqueous solution has constituents added until it resembles blood plasma and other biological fluids.
  • How principles of solution chemistry explain the acid-base behaviour.
Week 1: Introduction to Stewart's model; Basics of aqueous solutions; The physiology of acid-base balance in medicine; Clinical conundrums in acid-base balance; and The basics of simultaneous equations.

Week 2: Acid-base behaviour of pure water including temperature effects on dissociation coefficient; Acid-base behaviour pure water and a salt with a brief introduction to the concept of SID; Acid-base behaviour of water, salt and a weak acid (protein); Acid-base behaviour of water, salt, weak acid and carbon dioxide; Bicarbonate and respiratory effects; and Solutions containing gases and Henry's law i.e. measurement of gas concentrations in terms of partial pressures.

Week 3: Putting it all together: Summary of the key concepts in acid-base chemistry including the nature of dependant and independent variables; Review of the overall system of acid-base balance in terms of Stewart's model; and Examples from pathology and clinical medicine.
Taught by
David Rubin and Dr. Johan van Schalkwyk
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