University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Respiratory 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 chest cage and lungs. It also involves the understanding of the flow of blood and air through the lungs, the biochemistry of gas exchange and a basic understanding of the pathology and pharmacological therapeutics of common lung diseases.

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 respiratory disorders. It provides students in the biomedical sciences with an integrated approach to the study of the respiratory system including the gross and microscopic anatomy, how the respiratory system functions in health and disease, and an introduction to laboratory tests of pulmonary function, imaging of the respiratory system and the relevant therapeutics.

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 respiratory system

2. Skills (including transferable [generic] 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 respiratory tract and their clinical correlates
2. Outline the surface projections and methods of clinical examination of the components of the respiratory system
3. Identify on prosections, radiographs and other imaging systems the bones, ligaments and muscles of the chest, the components of the lungs and their major relations
4. Outline the development of the respiratory tract and how this relates to common developmental anomalies
5. Outline the mechanics of the process of respiration, using anatomical and physiological principles of muscle action, flow, pressure etc.
6. Outline the important biochemical changes relating to blood gas solution, diffusion and interaction with the body's buffering system.
7. Outline the patterns of nervous and chemical control of the respiratory pathways and how these relate to common disorders of the respiratory system and the appropriate therapeutic agents.
8. Discuss the common pathologies of the respiratory tract in terms of disordered anatomy and physiology and the basic drugs used to treat these conditions.
9. Identify different chest sounds.
10. Indicate important anatomical sites and recognise physiological reasons for entry points in emergency puncture-treatments/investigations of the chest.
11. Interpret simple clinical cases involving the respiratory system (including tumours, serious infections, fractures, pneumothorax, pleural effusions, haemothorax and flail chest) in terms of disordered anatomy and physiology and the basic drugs used to treat these conditions

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials West
Lippincott, Williams and
Wilkins 1994
ISBN 0-683-0-8937-4

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

Main Text for Biochemistry

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

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 and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical Yes 5%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 95%

LECTURER/S Rodianne Abela
Brendan Caruana Montaldo
Aaron Casha
Ruben Cauchi (Co-ord.)
Bridget Ellul
Anthony Fenech
Joseph Galea
Nikolai Pace
Ian Said

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 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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