Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Renal System

UM LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION Important aspects and fundamental concepts of normal renal function and anatomy provide the core material of the unit. Emphasis is placed on the clinical relevance of important physiologic and anatomical principles.

In addition to lectures, there are also 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 renal disease. It provides students in the biomedical sciences with an integrated approach to the study of the urinary system including the gross and microscopic anatomy, how the renal system functions in health and disease, and an introduction to laboratory tests of renal function, imaging of the urinary system and the relevant therapeutics.

Learning Outcomes:

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

- Correlate the structure and function of the renal system;
- Describe the anatomical and physiological basis of common clinical conditions affected the renal system;
- Name the gross and microscopic features, blood supply and innervation of the upper and lower urinary tract and their clinical correlates;
- Outline the surface projections and methods of clinical examination of the components of the renal tract;
- Outline the development of the renal tract and how this relates to common developmental anomalies;
- Discuss the physiology of body fluid compartments and mechanisms by which body maintains its homeostasis;
- Outline factors determining glomerular filtration and its autoregulation, transport mechanisms responsible for NaCl and water reabsorption by the nephron;
- Discuss the major hormones regulating NaCl and water reabsorption in the kidneys as well as plasma K+ and Ca++ levels and their sites of action;
- Describe the role of loop of Henle and vasa recta in production of a dilute and concentrated urine;
- Describe the effects of diuretics on the kidneys and effective circulating volume and name the primary nephron site where each class of diuretics acts;
- Describe the basic ethical principles as applied to dialysis and organ transplantation.

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

- Identify on radiological, CT and MRI images the components of the renal system;
- Apply the principles of acid-base homeostasis to simple hypothetical clinical Situations;
- Interpret inulin and creatinine clearance to measure glomerular filtration in Patients;
- Perform urinalysis;
- Interpret simple clinical cases involving the renal system (including oedematous states, glomerular diseases, renal failure, ureteric pain, and urinary tract infections) in terms of disordered anatomy and physiology and the basic drugs used to treat these conditions.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text for Physiology

- Textbook of Medical Physiology, Ed. Guyton & Hall; Saunders, 11th Edition, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-7216-0240-0.
- Further reading: "Renal Physiology" (Ed. Koeppen & Stanton; Mosby)

Main Texts for Anatomy

- Clinical Anatomy by Regions, Richard. S. Snell, 8th Edition, January 2007, Lipincott. ISBN-10: 0-7817-6404-1. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-6404-9.
- Clinical Anatomy by Systems, Richard. S. Snell, April 2006. ISBN-10: 0-7817-9164-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-9164-9.
- Grays Dissection guide for Human Anatomy, Morton, Peterson and Albertine, Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy, Weir, Jamie and Abrahams, Peter, 3rd Edittion, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0-7234-3211-1; ISBN-10: 0-7234-3211-2.
- Young Lowe, Stevens, Heath and Deakin, Wheater's functional Histology. A text and colour atlas. 5th Edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0-443-06850-8 ISBN-10: 0-443-06850-X. Imprint: CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE.
- T.W. Sadler. Langman's Medical Embryology Edition: 10th Paperback, 2006. ISBN-10: 0781794854 ; ISBN-13: 9780781794855.

Main Text for Pathology

- General and Systematic Pathology, JCE Underwood, 4th Edition, ISBN 0443073341, Churchill Livingstone or 2. Robbins Basic Pathology, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, R Mitchell, 8th Edition. ISBN1416029737, Saunders.

Main Texts for Pharmacology

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

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

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Jean Calleja Agius
Janet Mifsud
Nikolai Pace
Neville Vassallo (Co-ord.)


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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.