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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 February 2011
Guyton and Hall's Medical Physiology is a superb textbook. It is a comprehensive bible for the pre-clinical medical student, with good, clear illustrations and a clinical emphasis which is in keeping with most basic medical science texts of today. However, perhaps more importantly, the beauty of Guyton and Hall's book lies in its smooth, serene prose, which manages to perfectly convey the dynamic and exciting intricacies of human physiology.

All topics of physiology are covered and the book excels at combining breath and depth. Cardiovascular physiology is one of major strengths of Guyton and Hall. The chapters on cardiac failure and pathophysiology of shock were especially very good and gave a comprehensive overview of the physiological mechanisms that come into play in these conditions. The book's coverage haemostasis, renal and endocrine physiology was also suitably comprehensive and I found these chapters to be very well written. My main complaint was the coverage of reproductive physiology which I thought could have had slightly more depth.

Guyton does not have as great a range of illustrations as its competitors, such as Boron and Boulpaep. This is partly because in Guyton, the diagrams only act to complement the text but I feel that some more illustrations could be included without breaking the flow of the prose. Guyton and Hall feels like a story book at times and I enjoy this dimension of its writing. This is the main reason I prefer it over the onerous and pragmatic writing style that Ganong favours.

The textbook fairly hefty, but physiology is a major part of preclinical medicine and this book encompasses relevant aspects of the discipline for the medical student. It isn't meant to be carried in your pocket, but is meant to sit on your desk as an approachable aid to understanding. Guyton and Hall's physiology also sports a rather big price tag -- well, you get what you pay for-- and, in this case at least, you're getting a textbook of rare quality.

In short, I feel that Guyton and Hall's Medical Physiology stands near the pinnacle of undergraduate medical literature. Surely it is one of the best written books on undergraduate medical physiology and, despite it's massive size, it is very approachable for someone who has just done A-level biology and is taking their first steps in medical school. If you want to avoid spending attention on learning from multiple physiology text and want to study physiology from a single textbook, which doesn't skimp on detail and stays relevant without causing an information overload, look no further.
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on 11 October 2010
I first read this book as a medical student from 1985-87! Twenty five years later, as a practicing Internist, I had this almost irrepressible urge to go back and see how it's changed. A lot of water has flown under the bridge- Arthur C Guyton is no more, Hall has taken over as the principal author, and medicine has changed almost beyond recognition. The book still retains its almost unputdownable readability though- you are hooked almost as soon as you start, racing through to the next chapter, in a childlike urge to find out what happens next. It's gratifying to see long forgotten Physics cropping up quite often. Did you know for example that Diffusion coefficient of gases is equal to its solubility/square root of molecular weight? Or which among hypercapnoea and hypoxia is the acute driver of respiration as opposed to a chronic stimulator?

The only reason I gave a 4-star rating as opposed to 5 was the continuing use of now outdated terms such as SRS-A- Slow Reacting Substance of Anaphylaxis to the uninitiated. Every man and his dog knows that these are a mixture of leukotrienes- something that the author acknowledges in another part of the book- one really can't be too careful when you have old fogeys with long memories re-reading the text after 25 years.
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on 23 March 2012
It makes the most complex of concepts simple- that is how well written it is. Admittedly it is a hefty book, but physiology really is the glue that holds everything together- anatomy, biochemistry, histology, genetics, etc and it has a word or two to say about everything. Definitely a good book to use during your studies and as a reference when your done!
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on 28 December 2014
Good book but it could have more clarity in several parts. Such a famous and 'prescribed' book should also have more basic and support features, for example a list of keywords, some synthesis boxes, questions, etc., not mentioning some web materials like videos, that other works have.The only feature, additional to the text, are the end of chapter relatively extensive bibliographies, whose utility is doubtful for the common student. The art work, altough no one can say is bad, was also a bit disapointing. Clarity and illustrations could learn something for example from the (more basic) Vander Physiology in its ''old'' 8th edition (the one I know).
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on 1 December 2012
This is a very nice book! It contains a lot of examples for the topics contents in the book. It's very useful to understand the very specific and technical physiology of the human body, I mean, the author explains the physiology through various experiments were done so far.
If you are a medical student, I suggest to complement this book with another one which is more basic and concise.
This is the ideal book for those who like to know all the processes and the very single details which sometimes are not so important in spite of being very curious and interesting.
If you want to buy it, just do it.
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on 8 September 2013
I love details, but the amount of details in Guyton and Hall is overwhelming. As much as I hate to say this, the book was not usefull. As a reference yes, but not as your primary studying book. It takes hours and hours to cover up simple topics because it is so detailed. This made it really hard to figure out what the important stuff is.

In the middle of the year I tried something different, which worked a lot better. Guyton and Hall pocket book combined with constanzo. The pocket book says everything Guyton says, just the unnecessary details left out. I started to understand the princeples of physiology better and I could learn much more in a shorter time.

I would recommend for the physiology course Guyton and Hall pocket book, Constanzo and in case you have to check up something more; google.
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on 21 June 2013
I cannot speak highly enough about this book. I'm a first year medical student finishing my first year and this book has had everything I have needed so far.
It is extremely well written, clear and concise. So for those lectures where you didn't quite grasp the concept it's perfect for going over again.

I particularly like how it helps to link different aspects of physiology together by signposting you to linked concepts which is great when trying to retain such a vast amount of information.

The information is delivered with clear subheadings in larger topics with themes and units throughout, the diagrams are fantastic and especially for making your own notes in a power point presentation, student consult enables you to put digital versions of the diagrams into your notes.

Definitely my favourite textbook.
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on 29 August 2011
I have the eleventh edition of this textbook, and am just someone who wanted to understand how his own body works. The book has been revised and updated, no doubt incorporating more up to date material. But I am a little worried that the firm and clear storytelling of Arthur Guyton is being gradually replaced by mushy "all opinions are valid" committee writing. For example, a key sentence in the introduction has been rewritten thus:

Eleventh edition:
"Thus, the human being is actually an automaton, and . . ."

Twelfth edition:
"Thus, the human being is, in many ways, like an automaton, and . . ."

To no purpose, and with no evidence, physiology itself has been downgraded from objective scientific account to a sort of body of opinion. Is the editor a politician and not a scientist, perhaps?

Despite my misgivings about the editing, this is still a book everyone should read!
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on 29 March 2014
Explains all physiology concepts with the assumption you understand nothing- whilst this does make it unattractive for reference it is perfect for ensuring you understand physiological principles. Detail somewhat lacking but you can use Borons as a reference. Recommended for purchase for a medical student.
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on 18 March 2012
This is a brilliant textbook. The writing style is amazing. It can be read from cover to cover or you can dip into chapters and it still reads very well. The renal and CVS chapters are particularly good. Quite complex topics are explained very clearly with the aid of diagrams and analogies.

This is one of the very few textbooks I enjoy reading. Its way too much for a medical degree but if you're someone who enjoys physiology or has trouble getting their head round physiological principles then definitely get this. The only downside is that the units are American (eg mmHg instead of kPa for resp pressures).
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