Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cardiovascular System

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit covers the relationships between structure and function of the human cardiovascular system. It involves the understanding of the flow of blood through the heart and great vessels, the mechanical and electrical properties of the heart, regulation of lipids and other factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. and a basic understanding of the pathology and pharmacological therapeutics of common heart diseases. The principles of informed consent and public health implications of cardiovascular disease are covered here.

In addition to lectures, there will also be Critical Thinking Sessions. These are based on carefully selected clinical cases that are intended to stimulate the student to think and discuss critically the presented problems and to formulate basic scientific and clinical concepts as well as ethical, behavioural and professional principles.

The study-unit will also include Seminars wherein clinicians together with experts in various disciplines will discuss common clinical conditions and supplement the clinical information presented in the Critical Thinking Sessions.

The common features of these learning sessions is that they involve active participation, are student centered and conducive to independent learning as a prelude to continuing life-long education.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit provides a foundation for the clinical evaluation and management of patients with cardiovascular disease. It provides students in the biomedical sciences with an integrated approach to the study of the cardiovascular system including the gross and microscopic anatomy, how the cardiovascular system functions in health and disease, and an introduction to laboratory tests, imaging and therapeutics relevant to the cardiovascular system.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Correlate the structure and function of the cardiovascular system.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Name the gross and microscopic features, detailed blood supply and innervation of the heart, its chambers, valves and great vessels and their clinical correlates;
2. Outline the surface projections and methods of clinical examination of the heart, its valves and great vessels;
3. Outline the development of the cardiovascular system and how this relates to common developmental anomalies;
4. Explain the anatomical basis for the localisation of pain arising from heart disease;
5. Describe the conducting system of the heart and the reflex control of heart rate;
6. Construct simple pressure-volume diagrams from the events during the cardiac cycle and annotate these graphs with valve openings and closures and correlate these with electrocardiographic events;
7. Construct an integrated picture of the various systems that control blood pressure and apply this to specific clinical examples involving blood loss or fluid overload;
8. Explain the physiological changes that occur in the cardiovascular system in response to pregnancy;
9. Outline the renin-angiotension system and its role in the aetiology of hypertension;
10. Obtain an accurate measurement of systolic and diastolic blood pressures using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope;
11. Describe a systematic approach to ECG interpretation;
12. Interpret simple clinical cases involving the cardiovascular system (including angina, myocardial infarction, valve disease and thromboembolism) in terms of disordered anatomy and physiology and the basic drugs used to treat these conditions;
13. Outline the genetic and lifestyle factors influencing and the public health implications of cardiovascular disease.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text for Physiology

- Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton & Hall, 11th Edition, 2006, Saunders. ISBN: 978-0-7216-0240-0.

Main Text for Biochemistry

- Mark's Basic Medical Biochemistry: A Clinical Approach by Michael Lieberman, Allan D. Marks, 3rd Edition, Walters Kluwer/ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN: 0-13:978-0-7817-7022-4.

Main Texts for Anatomy

- Clinical Anatomy by Regions, by Richard. S. Snell, 8th Edition 2007, Lippincott. ISBN-10: 0-7817-6404-1. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-6404-9.
- Clinical Anatomy by Systems, by Richard. S. Snell. April 2006. ISBN-10: 0-7817-9164-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-9164-9.
- Gray’s Dissection guide for Human Anatomy, by Morton, Peterson and Albertine, 2nd Edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0443069512. ISBN-10: 0443069514.

Main Text for Pathology

- General and Systematic Pathology, by JCE Underwood, 4th Edition, Churchill Livingstone. ISBN0443073341.
- Robbins Basic Pathology by V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, R Mitchell, 8th Edition, Saunders. ISBN 1416029737.

Main Texts for Pharmacology

- Clinical Pharmacology: With STUDENTCONSULT Access (Paperback). P. N. Bennett, Morris J. Brown
10th Edition, 2007 Churchill Livingstone. ISBN-10: 0443102449. ISBN-13: 978-0443102448.
-Pharmacology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access (Paperback), Humphrey P. Rang, Maureen M. Dale, James M. Ritter BM, Rod Flower, 6th Edition, 2007 Churchill Livingstone. ISBN-10: 0443069115. ISBN-13: 978-0443069116.

Supplementary Readings

- Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy by Weir, Jamie and Abrahams, Peter, 3rd Edition, 2003. ISBN-10: 0-7234-3211-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-7234-3211-1.
- Wheater's functional Histology. A text and colour atlas. By Young, Lowe, Stevens, Heath and Deakin
5th Edition, 2006. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN-13: 978-0-443-06850-8. ISBN-10: 0-443-06850-X.
- Langman's Medical Embryology By T.W. Sadler, 10th Edition. ISBN-10: 0781794854. ISBN-13: 9780781794855.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Seminar and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 40%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 60%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.