Acid-Base Physiology

The Physiology Viva: Questions & Answers

This page last updated 25 June 2024 (Yes, the book is still available)

The book was first published in 1997 and then revised in 2003 with further changes since then. Short-run printing permits various minor changes or corrections to be made easily so the book you order today may be very slightly different from the book that was available in any previous year.

The book has been used extensively by candidates (and I'm told is referred to by examiners) for the ANZCA Primary exams in Australia and New Zealand. Anaesthetic trainees in other countries, and trainees in some other specialities (e.g. Emergency Medicine; Intensive Care), may find the book useful for the basic science physiology component of their exam.

How do I order the book?

Answer: The book can be ordered in several ways:

  • FIRST Method: Pay by EFT (See EFT Guidelines for details). Also email me ( with your details, and remember to include your mailing address so I know where to post the book. EFT is the preferred method for Australian orders. EFT must be in Australian dollars from an Australian account. I will respond to you by email usually within a day or two (unless I am away).
  • SECOND Method: Order and pay by PayPal - see links below- and email me with your details (Preferred method for orders from outside Australia, but accepted for orders from Australia as well.) I will respond by email within a day or two (unless I am away).

My address details:
Kerry Brandis
PO Box 4545
Ashmore Plaza
Queensland 4214


For orders to addresses outside Australia: Please include a phone number as that is generally required to be included on the packing slip. This can be a landline or a mobile/cellular number - see note below about tracked delivery to UK and Europe. I will also send you the postal tracking code so you can track the progress of the parcel at

For orders to Australian addresses: If you include a mobile number, I can include that on the envelope and the post office tells me that they send texts with tracking info to that number.

How much does the book cost?

Answer: The prices (in Australian $) for various places are:

  • $A90 for Australia (price includes Express Post tracked delivery)
  • $A97 for New Zealand (price includes Airmail delivery)
  • $A100 for Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia (Airmail delivery)
  • $A110 for United Kingdom, Eire, rest of Europe, USA, Canada - for international tracked delivery.
Can I pay by EFT ('Electronic Funds Transfer'?

Answer: Yes, but ONLY for payments from an Australian Bank Account (See EFT Guidelines). EFT from overseas banks is not accepted because of the fees extracted from your payment by the intermediary bank - these are not disclosed to you by the sending bank and the fees are a significant percent for small payment amounts.

Can I pay using PayPal?

Yes. PayPal payments are the easiest method of ordering for delivery to addresses outside Australia. Because of difficulty keeping up with constantly changing exchange rates, all orders from outside Australia require payment in Australian dollars. Send payment to me at this email address: using this PayPal link. The Price for each country is indicated above.

For some countries, you can pay now use PayPal directly using the service Payments are in Australian dollars.) Just click the link below:

Payment is in Australian dollars (AUD) only. Please also send me an email at indicating your order and including your ADDRESS. Occasionally I receive payments without any notification of your address so I do not know where to send the book. I will reply to your email with posting details.

Please include the word "viva" in your email to make it easier to find as I search my emails for that word.

Delivery to outside Australia

Such parcels sent by post occasionally have delivery problems. I will email you the tracking code which you can enter at the Australia Post Tracking webpage to follow progress of your book through the delivery process.

To assist with delivery, the postal service requests that the package include a telephone contact number, so please include this when you order the book. I believe they may use this phone number to contact you if there is no-one home when they attempt to deliver the book.

IMPORTANT: Depending on your country, your postal service may not deliver the book to your address but instead MAY leave a card asking you to collect the item from your local post office or post delivery centre. Such cards can be easily over-looked. Check on the tracking website to see the status of your book .

The PayPal address is: If using PayPal for the first time, click on the 'Send Money' tab for details. [Also: An introductory guide to PayPal is available on this site]

How to Pay for Orders from outside Australia
Preferred Payment Method:

PayPal (see above) for buyers from UK, Ireland, rest of Europe, NZ, Canada, USA

(If you are a buyer from outside Australia but have an Australian Bank Account, then you also have the option of paying by EFT in Australian dollars)

Other Methods: Cash? Cheque?

Payment by cash or cheque is no longer accepted.


The following are sections from the book which you can view on-line (as pdf files) as a sample:

From Chapter 3: Pressure-Volume Loop

From Chapter 4: Oxygen Dissociation Curve

From Chapter 11: Placental Gas Exchange

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Table of Contents


Suggested Books

Chapter 1 : Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Distribution of Body Water, 1
Control of Body water,  3
Measurement of Compartment Volumes,  5
Control of Intracellular Volume,  7
Osmotic pressure,  8
Osmolality and Tonicity,  9
Oncotic pressure,  11
Sodium concentrations,  13
Potassium,  15
Functions of Magnesium,  17
Gibbs-Donnan Relationship,  18
Lymph,  19
Sweat,  21
Infusion of 1000mls of 3N Saline

Chapter 2: Acid-Base Physiology
Buffers,  24
Respiratory Regulation of Acid-Base Balance,  27
Renal Regulation of Acid-Base Balance
Effects of Hypercapnia,  32
Adverse Effects of Hypocapnia, 33
Interpretation of Arterial Blood Gases, 34
Infusion of 1N Hydrochloric Acid
Infusion of 8.4% Sodium Bicarbonate

Chapter 3: Cardiovascular Physiology
Ventricular Pressure Curve,  39
Pressure-Volume Loop,  42 (View sample section)
Determinants of Myocardial Performance,  46
Cardiac Output,  49
Myocardial Oxygen Consumption,  52
Valsalve Manoeuvre,  53
CVS Response to Standing,  56
CVS Response to Rapid Loss of 1000mls of Blood,  57
Rapid Transfusion of 1000mls of IV Fluids,  59
Cerebral Blood Flow,  62
Coronary Blood Flow,  69
Hepatic Blood Flow,  72
Renal Blood Flow,  73
Microcirculation,  76
Pulmonary Microcirculation,  81
Autoregulation,  83
Myocardial Action Potentials,  85
Properties of Cardiac Muscle,  88
Mixed Venous Blood,  90
Distribution of Blood Volume,  92
Effects of Anaemia,  95
Venous Return,  98
Physiology of CPR,  100
Arterial Pulse Contours,  101
Cardiac and Vascular Function Curves,  103
Hyperventilation with Chest Compression, 105

Chapter 4: Respiratory Physiology
Dead Space,  106
Lung Volumes,  110
Functional Residual Capacity,  111
Compliance,  115
Closing Capacity,  118
Oxygen Cascade,  119
Oxygen Transport, 121
Oxygen Dissociation Curve,  122 (View sample section)
Carbon Dioxide Transport,  128
Differences between the Base and Apex of the Lung,  130
Volume, Pressure & Flow during Normal Breathing,  131
Physiology of Preoxygenation,  132
Breathing 100% Oxygen,  134
Resorption of a Pneumothorax,  136
Cyanosis, 137
Flow-Volume Loop,  138
Surfactant,  140
Non-Respiratory Functions of the Lung, 142
Respiratory Response to High Altitude,  144
Functions of the Nose,  145
Functions of the Red Blood Cell, 146
Mechanics of Breathing,  148
Alveolar-arterial pO2 gradient, 149
Hypoxaemia and Hypoxia,  152
Shunt,  154
Pulmonary Vascular Resistance,  156

Chapter 5: Renal Physiology
Formation of Urine,  158
Glomerular Filtration Rate, 160
Preoperative Tests of Renal Function,  162
Juxtaglomerular Apparatus,  163
Excretion of Bicarbonate by the Kidney,  164
Renal Clearance,  165
Endocrine Functions of the Kidney,  166
Excretion of Urea,  168

Chapter 6: Endocrine Physiology and Metabolism
Hormones,  169
Insulin,  171
Regulation of the Blood Glucose Level,  173
Synthesis of the Thyroid Hormones,  177
The Pituitary,  178
Control of Calcium Level,  179
Mechanisms by which Hormones Interact with Cells,  180
Metabolic Rate,  183

Chapter 7: Physiology of Blood
Storage of Blood,  184
Compatibility Testing of Blood, 186
Plasma Proteins,  188
The Immune System, 190
Haemostasis,  194
Iron Metabolism, 
Blood Groups,  202
Complement,  204
Vitamin K, 206
Erythropoietin,  208
Platelets,  209
The Death of a Red Cell,  211

Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Physiology
Gastric Acid Secretion,  212
Bile Acids,  214
Functions of the Liver,  216
Vomiting,  218
Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates,  220
Abdominal Pressure,  222

Chapter 9: Neurophysiology
Cerebrospinal Fluid,  223
Blood-Brain Barrier,  225
Propagation of an Action Potential,  226
Oculocardiac Reflex,  227
Peripheral Nerves,  228
Functions of the Hypothalamus,  230
Resting Membrane Potential,  232

Chapter 10: Physiology of Muscle and the Neuromuscular Junction
Muscle Spindles,  233
Physiology of Neuromuscular Transmission,  235
Physiology of Muscle Contraction,  237
Smooth Muscle,  239
Types of Skeletal Muscle,  241

Chapter 11: Maternal, Foetal and Neonatal Physiology
Cardiorespiratory Changes at Birth,  243
Functions of the Placenta,  244
Neonatal Temperature Regulation,  246
Maternal Cardiorespiratory Changes during Pregnancy,  248
Neonatal Respiratory Physiology,  250
Placental Gas Exchange,  252(View sample section)
The First Breath,  257
Amniotic Fluid,  258

Chapter 12: Clinical Measurement
Exponential Functions,  259
Invasive Pressure Measurement,  261
Gauge Pressure & Pressure Gauges,  265
Strain Gauges,  267
Oscillometric BP Measurement,  268
Oxygen Analysis,  269
Carbon Dioxide Analysis,  270
Volatile Agent Monitoring,  272
Pressure Changes during Insertion of a Pulmonary Artery Catheter,  274
Temperature Measurement,  276
Measurement of Humidity,  278
Measurement of the Oxygen Content of a Blood Sample,  279
Physical Principles of Vaporisers,  281
Rotameters,  283
Gas Laws,  284

Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Topics
Body Temperature Regulation,  285
Functions of the Skin,  287
Intraocular Pressure,  289
Physiological Principles in the Care of a Tracheostomy,  291
Physiology of Anaphylaxis,  292

A: Physiology Quick Quiz Questions, 293
B: Answers, 306

Abbreviations,  318
Index,  322