Friday, April 17, 2009

Introducing the Acid-Base Machine

Last month I realized that in order for students to really learn acid-base interpretation they need practice. Lots of practice. So I started everyday's teaching rounds by assigning each student four ABGs to interpret.

Creating all of those ABGs became pretty tedious so I started fiddling around with an excel spreadsheet to automate the process. I used ABG Machine 1.0 for that month but, unfortunately, it created too many respiratory problems and too few metabolic disorders. I completely re-crafted the randomization algorithm so that it should provide a balanced distribution of ABG problems (a quarter metabolic acidosis, a quarter metabolic alkalosis, a quarter respiratory alkalosis and a quarter respiratory acidosis).

Introducing The Acid-Base Machine 2.0

The spreadsheet is made up of 12 individual sheets. The first one is the Question sheet, you should print one copy for every student or resident. The second sheet is the Answer sheet, I printed one for me and one for each student and I would pass them out after the excercise so if they wanted to brush up on some additional questions they had the answers. The next ten sheets are the guts of the machine and you can ignore them unless you want to tinker with how the randomization works.

Download the Excel file

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