After 103 years, is it time to cancel the Hasselbalch equation from textbooks?

Abstract

The equation called “Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation” was created in 1916 following the Henderson Equation published in 1908.

After analyzing the evolution from the simplicity of Henderson to the complexity of Hasselbalch, it is hoped that the acid-base balance can become a simpler and more exciting topic if approached and taught without using the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, which includes 4 logarithms.

It is stated that the rationale underlying the understanding of acid-base equilibrium and its clinical application is already clearly inherent in the much simpler Henderson formula (without logarithms), which is sufficient, and very useful, for both teaching and learning in Medicine.

Key words: Hasselbalch, Henderson, [H+], pH

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Introduzione

L’equilibrio acido-base non è un tema ostico ma è stato reso tale da Hasselbalch dopo la sua introduzione dei logaritmi nella semplice equazione di Henderson. Il vero benemerito in questo settore era stato proprio Lawrence Joseph Henderson (1878-1942), nato negli Stati Uniti e Professore di Fisiologia ad Harvard (Figura 1).  

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