Cardiovascular System


This course is designed as an integrated introduction to the diseases of the cardiovascular system. It has been collaboratively developed by faculty to help students form a strong base of medical knowledge in cardiovascular pathology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. Building on this foundation, it is our goal for each student to begin to develop the analytical and cognitive skills necessary for a successful transition from basic cardiovascular physiology to the care of patients with heart disease. We expect each student to acquire solid basic comprehension of basic principles and, most importantly, a practical understanding of how to approach a patient with known or suspected cardiac disease.

Daily Plan

Assigned readings provide the foundation for lectures. The required textbook readings will provide the student with theoretical and practical concepts to complement, but not replace, material presented in lecture. In order to gain the most from this course, we expect students to complete daily reading assignments prior to lecture. Please note that there is a large amount of reading in the first half of this course. In order to get off to a good start, and learn the most from this block, students should complete readings for the first assignment over the preceding weekend.

Lectures will be integrated to include cardiovascular pathology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. The lectures have been developed to build on material from the assigned readings. Students should expect to be presented material in lecture that will broaden each individual’s understanding of cardiovascular disease, provide perspective, and reinforce vital clinicopathological concepts not necessarily provided in written format. Slides will be available electronically on the day of each lecture.

Clinicopathological exercises are active learning opportunities designed to challenge students to apply knowledge from textbook readings and lecture in the analysis of authentic clinical scenarios for which there are multiple possible solutions. Students will be expected to work individually, or with colleagues to formulate a pathophysiological explanation of presenting symptoms and signs, interpret the electrocardiogram, develop a differential diagnosis and make a plan for further diagnostic evaluation and/or management.

Objectives and Goals

Our goal is to teach you how to think about patients with heart disease.