Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Gastrointestinal System

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This unit focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal and hepato-biliary systems, and the anatomical and physiological basis of common gastro intestinal and hepatic disorders. It will also introduce principles of drug bioavailability, metabolism, and elimination by the liver.

In addition to lectures, students will be exposed to practical hands-on physiology and anatomy demonstrations in the physiology, clinical anatomy, dissection, histology, imaging, pathology and computer laboratories. During these sessions students are stimulated to perform specified tasks and guided as to what is expected of them through worksheets. Observation visits to a variety of clinical and/or laboratory sites will be offered as appropriate. Students will also be required to participate in regular online (Moodle) case-based group discussions followed by in-depth analysis of the underlying scientific basis of common clinical conditions through facilitated 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 gastrointestinal disease. It provides students in the biomedical sciences with an integrated approach to the study of the gastrointestinal system including the gross and microscopic anatomy, how the gastrointestinal system functions in health and disease, and an introduction to laboratory tests, imaging and therapeutics relevant to the gastrointestinal 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 gastrointestinal system

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

1. Name the gross and microscopic features, blood supply and innervation of the components of the gastro-intestinal, hepato-biliary and pancreatic duct systems and their clinical correlates
2. Outline the surface projections and methods of clinical examination of the gastro-intestinal tract
3. Identify on prosected specimens, and on radiological, CT and MRI images the components of the gastro-intestinal, hepato-biliary and pancreatic duct systems
4. Outline the development of the GI tract, pancreas and hepato-biliary system
5. Explain the composition, volumes and functions of secretions from the alimentary tract including saliva, gastric fluid, bile and intestinal fluid
6. Outline the mechanisms of digestion and absorption of lipid, protein, and carbohydrate, and the absorption of vitamins, water and electrolytes
7. Outline the autonomic and hormonal control of gastric and intestinal secretion, motility and emptying, the physiology of swallowing and vomiting, and the factors preventing gastro-oesophageal reflux
8. Describe the storage and synthetic functions of the liver and gall bladder
9. Identify the mechanisms of drug metabolism and excretion by the liver
10. Explain the pathways for the metabolism of haemoglobin and bilirubin and identify possible causes and types of jaundice and the physiological consequences of hepatic disease
11. Describe the clinical laboratory assessment of liver function and hepatic failure
12. Describe the hepatic portal circulation, the causes and consequences of portal venous obstruction and the effects of anaesthesia on the hepatic circulation
13. Interpret simple clinical cases involving the gastrointestinal system (including diarrhoea, vomiting, cholecystitis, gall bladder disease, panceatitis, carcinoma of the pancreas, malabsorption) 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

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 Text 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 Ind Study, Lecture, Practical & Group Learning

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical Yes 10%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 90%

LECTURER/S Jean Calleja Agius
Aaron Casha
Sarah Cuschieri (Co-ord.)
Janet Mifsud
Nikolai Pace
Mauro Pessia
Vanessa Petroni
David Pisani
Pierre Schembri Wismayer

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 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.