University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Surgery 2 (Cardiothoracic, Vascular and Urology)

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


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION The study-unit covers the surgical aspects of vascular as well as cardiothoracic disease including ischaemic heart disease, valvular heart disease and chest trauma; and urological problems including urinary tract infection, kidney, ureter, bladder and prostate disease. Apart from a lecture programme, the unit also includes a series of seminars delivered jointly by specialists from different disciplines with presentations of clinical scenarios relevant to the particular surgical field. In addition, students attend small group teaching sessions during which clinical skills are taught and practiced and clinical cases are discussed.

The small group teaching is aimed to allow active participation and to enable students to translate the knowledge acquired through the lecture programme into clinical skills.

During the three week clinical attachments students will rotate through one week of vascular surgery, one week of cardiothoracic surgery and one week of urology surgical firms to give them the opportunity to actively expand their knowledge, develop technical and clinical skills and initiate relationships with patients and staff. During these attachments students are expected to attend their firms' on-calls, as well as collect and present a number of clinical cases (the surgery logbook).

During clinical attachments students have the opportunity to examine patients and present their findings to their clinical tutor. This allows students to develop basic clinical skills such as history taking and clinical examination through direct supervised interaction with patients as well as through observation of experienced clinical staff at work. The clinical attachments also expose students to the process of consenting patients, pre-operative preparation, intra-operative and postoperative care of patients. During these attachments students are expected to attend their firms' on-calls, as well as collect and present a number of clinical cases (the surgery logbook).

Study-unit Aims

This study-unit aims to provide the basic knowledge and skills required in the diagnosis and management of cardio-thoracic, vascular and urological surgical conditions. In addition it aims to expose students to the importance of multiprofessional teams, effective team working and communication in clinical management. It also aims to help students to continue to develop their patient communication skills and patient relationship. Through the clinical component, this study unit also aims to help students recognise and develop the right attitudes and behaviour necessary for effective and safe management of surgical conditions.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Describe the main symptoms and signs of common cardio-thoracic, vascular and urological surgical conditions.
2. Describe their common underlying causes and explain the underlying pathophysiological process.
3. Relate the visible pathology and the clinical scenarios to the basic principles of anatomy and physiology.
4. List the investigative procedures used in the diagnosis of these common surgical conditions.
5. Identify pathological prognostic features in malignancy.
6. Briefly explain the different treatment modalities available for the management of these common surgical conditions.
7. Briefly explain the common and serious complications of different treatments used in the management of these surgical conditions.


8. Describe the aetiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, morphology, clinical consequences and complications of lung and pleural malignancy;
9. Describe the types of laboratory tests available for clinical diagnosis of respiratory diseases and for acute and chronic renal failure.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Elicit a clear and systematic history from patients with these surgical problems.
2. Perform a systematic examination of patients with these surgical problems.
3. Clearly present the history and clinical findings elicited from the history and clinical examination.
4. Interpret basic biochemical and other laboratory based and medical imaging studies used in the diagnosis of these common surgical conditions.
5. Develop a logical plan for further investigations, recognising the importance of using less invasive and less costly investigative modalities where possible.
6. Demonstrate respect for the dignity of patients and empathy towards patients.
7. Present a postmortem case with appropriate clinico-pathological correlation.


8. Interpret common symptoms and signs in terms of possible underlying pathology in lung and pleural malignancy and outline a differential diagnosis;
9. Correlate the use of simple diagnostic laboratory tests with clinical and morphological features;
10. Choose the appropriate laboratory tests to confirm diagnosis and interpret the result.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

1. Bailey & Love Short Practice of Surgery Russell RCG, Williams NS, Bulstrode CJK
2. Hamilton Bailey Physical Signs Lumley JSP
3. Essential Surgery Burkitt HG, Quick CRG, Gatt D
4. Clinical Surgery Cuschieri, Hennesy, Greenhalgh
5. Dunn Surgical Diagnosis & Management Dunn Rawlinson

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Placement

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (1 Hour) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Kevin Cassar (Co-ord.)
Alex Manche

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.
NEW Master in Laparoscopic Surgery

To be offered in February 2017


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