Question 11

Describe the buffer systems in the body.

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College Answer

This is a core physiology topic; a detailed knowledge of buffering and the available buffer systems is crucial to ICU practice.
A candidate presenting for the first part exam should have a detailed understanding of all aspects of the buffer systems. Higher scoring answers provided both technical details of the buffer systems, the context for their normal function and their relative importance. Efficient answers dealt with the buffers by chemical rather than by site, but many answers categorising buffers by site also scored well. Many low scoring answers simply failed to provide detail, some provided incorrect information. Very few candidates demonstrated an understanding of the isohydric principle.