Pathophysiology involves the study of disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury and can therefore be considered core to any degree in biomedicine or health science. This unit examines the effects of dysfunction in particular human body systems, building on students' knowledge of basic pathological processes and overall regulation of the human body (Pathophysiology 1). Overall organ and system dysfunction such as hepatic, renal, cardiovascular and respiratory failure will be covered as well as specific disorders of the following systems: cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, blood, reproductive, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal. Major disease types and processes such as circulatory shock, atherosclerosis, disorders of acid-base balance, sexually transmitted diseases and the psychosocial effects of such disorders will be addressed. Students are introduced to techniques for assessment of disorders, which may include physical assessments, spirometry, electrocardiography and various biochemical analyses. There will be an integration of topic material relating to specific body systems between Pathophysiology 1 and Pathophysiology 2 and the specific diseases chosen to illustrate major processes may vary to reflect facilitator sub-discipline expertise. Students will have the opportunity to investigate and apply their knowledge of pathophysiology in professional and community situations; this will be exemplified by the WIL group project where students will study the pathophysiology of a disease in consultation with health professionals and patients to gain a holistic understanding of the public health system.

Unit details

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RBM2530 - Pathophysiology 1

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate the ability to locate and critically analyse a range of peer reviewed literature including case studies, reviews and primary research articles  
  2. Critically assess the main types of physical examination and laboratory tests employed to investigate the causes of disease and articulate the scientific basis for preventative interventions  
  3. Compare and contrast a range of disease processes with reference to specific organ systems and their interplay  
  4. Utilise and apply scientific principles and protocols to the investigation of pathological conditions, especially with respect to appropriate controls and accurate measurement of physiological parameters  
  5. Utilise knowledge of pathophysiology to solve moderately complex problems and analyse case studies of disease including writing a case study based on patient and health practitioners perspectives  
  6. Determine how psychosocial, social and cultural issues may contribute to disease processes, and apply this knowledge to understand how different strategies may be necessary to prevent the development or worsening of disease in a context of social diversity  
  7. Critically reflect on and analyse processes and data collected with peers in a laboratory setting.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Mid semester test (1 hour, MCQ only) 20%
Assignment WIL team project - Assignment (2000 words) 20%
Presentation WIL team project - Oral Presentation (10 minutes, 300 words) 10%
Examination Final Exam (3 hours, MCQ only) 50%
Laboratory attendance is compulsory and is a hurdle requirement. In order to complete laboratory based learning outcomes students must attend a minimum 80% of labs to pass the subject because lab skills are an essential part of the unit and overall course given that industry expects science graduates to have basic laboratory and analytical skills. This unit is also a pre-requisite for several 3rd year units where students will need to have learnt these basic lab skills to scaffold their learning into more advanced laboratory skills.

Required reading

Students will need either Pathophysiology by McCance et al (2015) OR Rubin's Pathology et al (2015)

Pathophysiology: the Biologic Basis for Disease in Adults and Children 7th ed.
McCance. K.L. and Huether, S.E., (2015)
Maryland Heights, Missouri, Mosby Elsevier

Pathology: Clinicopathologic Foundations of Medicine 7th ed.
Rubin, R., Strayer, D. and Rubin, E., (2015)
Philadelphia, Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

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