Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Pathology

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit provides a solid grounding in systemic pathology leading to a Final Pathology Examination, with an invited External Examiner.

Teaching is through small group teaching sessions which build on the previously acquired knowledge in general pathology and on the systemic pathology lectures delivered simultaneously throughout the year in the integrated multidisciplinary study units dealing with organ systems.

In addition there are lectures to cover haematological diseases from both a clinical and pathological aspect.

The Study-Unit is grounded in anatomical pathology but incorporates aspects of the disciplines of chemical pathology, microbiology, haematology and immunology. There is emphasis on aetiology, pathogenesis, morphology relevant to clinical diagnosis, laboratory diagnostic tests, including laboratory problems, disease complications and prognosis. Management is important in the disciplines of chemical pathology, haematology and microbiology. Molecular biology and genetics are incorporated horizontally in all teaching sessions.

Two small group teaching sessions (one hour each) are delivered weekly and deal with pathological topics not covered in the integrated pathology lectures as well as providing training in the application of pathology to patient management.

In addition, there is a two week placement at the Pathology Laboratories, where students rotate through four different pathology laboratories to gain hands-on practical experience, including exposure to postmortems. Training provided is aimed at the recognition and interpretation of pathological changes in specimens sent to the laboratories for analysis. There is also emphasis on the role of the laboratory in clinical management.

The Final Pathology Examination aims to assess:

- Factual knowledge;
- The ability to obtain a correct diagnosis through the appropriate use of the correct pathological investigations;
- The ability to apply the correct management based on pathological results.

The exam will consist of two two-hour papers. Paper I will consist of MCQs with negative marking and Paper II will be a written case-based paper. Each paper has a 50% weighting. In addition there will be a Viva for borderline pass/fail, borderline grades and distinction candidates. A Visiting External Examiner will be invited on the Examining Board and for the Viva Session.

Study-unit Aims

To provide:

- The core knowledge of the pathology of disease processes in organ systems and haematology;
- The core knowledge of the role of pathology disciplines in the diagnosis and management of patients;
- Training in how to manage haematological patients;
- Training in how to interpret laboratory results;
- Training in how to apply pathology knowledge to clinical practice.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Describe the aetiology, pathogenesis and morphology (when clinically relevant) of haematological and organ system diseases;
- Discuss the relevance of risk factors for haematological and organ system diseases;
- Describe the clinical features of haematological diseases;
- Outline the clinical consequences of haematological and organ system diseases;
- Explain the development of complications of organ system diseases and haematological diseases;
- Describe the types of laboratory tests available for clinical diagnostic purposes;
- Set out the underlying principles as to how such laboratory tests work;
- Explain why problems arise in the collection of specimen material for clinical diagnosis; and
- State the problems encountered in laboratory processing that may affect test results.

2. Skills:

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

- Interpret common symptoms and signs in terms of possible underlying pathology in the haematopioetic system and in the organ systems studied and outline a differential diagnosis;
- Identify risk factors for disease;
- Identify pathological prognostic features in malignancy;
- Recognise different classes of disease on selected gross and microscopic specimens;
- Correlate the use of simple diagnostic laboratory tests with clinical and morphological features of disease;
- Choose the appropriate laboratory tests to confirm diagnosis;
- Interpret a simple laboratory report;
- Identify the appropriate methods of disease prevention;
- Choose the appropriate management for haematological diseases;
- Choose the best antibiotic therapy for microbiological infections;
- Present a postmortem case with appropriate clinico-pathological correlation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Recommended Books:

Systematic Pathology (and Haematology)

- Muir’s Textbook of Pathology, Ed by C S Herrington, 15th Edition, CRC Press, 2014. ISBN: 9781444184976 / 9781444184990
- Underwood’s Pathology: A Clinical Approach, SB Cross, 6th Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2013. ISBN: 0702046728 / 978 0702046728
- General and Systematic Pathology, P Bass, S Burroughs, N Carr, C Way, 3rd Ed, Master Medicine, Churchill Livingstone, 2009. ISBN: 0080451292 / 978-0080451299.


- Medical Microbiology and Infection, T Elliott, H Osman, M Gill, T Warthington, 4th Edition, Blackwell, 2007. ISBN-10: 1405129328, ISBN-13: 978-1405129329, [also a Kindle edition, 2012]
- Notes on Medical Microbiology (Paperback), MC Timbury, C McCartney, B Thakker, KN Ward, Churchill Livingstone, 2002. ISBN 10: 0443071640 ISBN-13: 978-0443071645
- Clinical Oriented Cases in Microbiology, Hilary Humphreys & William Irving, 2nd Ed, Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0198515855
- Basic Concepts of Infection Control

Additional Resources:

Systematic Pathology (and Haematology):

- Pathology Illustrated, R Reid, F Roberts, E MacDuff, 7eth Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2011. ISBN-10: 0702033766, ISBN-13: 978-0702033766.
- Robbins Basic Pathology, V Kumar, A K Abbas, JC Aster, 9eth Edition, Saunders, 2012. ISBN: 1437717810/ 978-1437717815.
- Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, EC Klatt, V Kumar, 4th Edition, Saunders, 2014. ISBN: 1455751553 / 978-1455751556.

Reference Texts:

- Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, V Kumar, A K Abbas, J C Aster, 9e, 9th Edition, Saunders, 2014. ISBN10: 1455726133 / ISBN13: 978-1455726134.
- Medical Microbiology, Greenwood D, Slack RCB, Peutherer JF, Barer MR, 17eth Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2007. ISBN-10: 0443102090, ISBN-13: 978-0443102097.

Various Internet Resources are available for Pathology:

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-units: MDS2004, MDS2008

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Placement

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
MCQ & Examination (4 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%


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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.