2023-2024 / CAVS0120-6

Multidisciplinary approach to the cardiovascular system


40h Th, 5h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in medicine5 crédits 


Philippe Delvenne, Gaëtan Garraux, Philippe Kolh, Bernard Lambermont, Patrizio Lancellotti, Pascale Quatresooz, Marc Radermecker


Philippe Kolh

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Through different approached fields, principal normal aspects and general principles of the heart will be studied, including its blood vessels and embryonic development, the heart and its tissues' anatomies, its systemic arterial and pulmonary system.  The different components' nervous innervation of the cardio-vascular system will be examined, by establishing a relationship between the structure and the function (when it's possible).

Heart's and blood vessels' anatomy has essential implications in semiology, in x-ray examination's interpretation, not to mention the importance of an accurate knowledge of these notions in any doctor's life. Histological structure of the cardiovascular system's components will be examined by establishing a relationship between the structure and the function. General pathological aspects and the common pathopsysiological mecanisms, related to the cardiovascular system, will also be examined from normal morphological and physiological data with a deductive approach.

Knowledge and comprehension of the physiognomy and biochemistry of the heart muscle and its blood vessels (in particular their coupling) are at the heart of this module. Acutally, these notions are needed by the future doctor, by allowing him to interpet the patient signs and symptoms  (semiology) and to understand a disease's ins and outs and the interest of further tests.
The class on biochemistry and physiology of the cardiovascular system consists of the following sections:
1. Introduction
2. Automaticity of cardiac activity

  • Action potential and conduction
  • Basics of ECG
3. Factors of cardiac performance
  • Cardiac cycle Filling or preloading (Frank-Starling law)
  • Myocardial contractility
  • Resistance to systolic ejection or afterload
4. Circulatory flow
  • The laws of blood flow
  • Self-regulation of regional traffic
5. The metabolic needs of cardiovascular performance
  • Cardiac energetics
  • Coronary flow
6. Regulatory mechanisms
  • Control of blood pressure level
  • Regulation of cardiac output
  • Cardiovascular adaptation to muscular effort
7. Principles of pathophysiology
  • Diastolic insufficiency
  • Pressure overload
  • Volume overload
  • Impairment of contractility

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Such as, in particular (in a not exhaustive way) :

  • Know the position of the heart, as well as the structure and the functions of the wall, the cavities of the big vessels and the valves of the heart, as well as the cardiac irrigation.
  • Know the structural characteristics of the cardiac muscle and the vessels.
  • Know the physiology of the contraction of the cardiac muscle and the phases of the cardiac revolution.
  • Know the factors which determine the cardiac output and the factors of regulation of the cardiac output.
  • Know the interactions between cardiac and respiratory function.
  • Know the mechanisms of regulation of the heart rate.
  • Know the essential elements of fluid mechanics essential to the understanding of the flow of the blood in vessels.
  • Know the structure and the function of the various types of blood vessels.
  • Know the mechanisms of regulation of the vascular tonus.
  • Define the notion of blood pressure and know the factors which make vary this pressure.
  • Know the control mechanisms of the blood pressure.
  • Understand the interactions between hormonal and nervous mechanisms of cardiovascular control.
  • Understand the peculiarities of the foetal cardio-circulatory system and the modifications in the birth.
  • Understand some methods of exploration of the circulatory system.
  • Get acquainted in certain medical terms in touch with the big pathological syndromes.
  • Know physiopathological aspects such as those of the states of shock, for example.
A list of general and specific objectives is available on the e-campus on line course.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Co and pre-requisites are detailed in the general Baccalaureate Medical formation (global course program).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This Module is multidisciplinar (based on different theoretical courses in different disciplines).
Practical works (MEDE0122 and MEDE0123) and Problem-based seminars (APPR0122) complete the practical and clinical aspects.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face to face lectures.

Recommended or required readings

Slides and comments are available on e-campus on line course ; books can be obtained at the Ulg Press Shop  (complementary, not compulsory).

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire, open-ended questions )

Out-of-session test(s)

Additional information:

A certification question is planned at the end of the module and of the respiratory module. This questioning will take place for 20% of the final grade and will cover all the material. Written questioning including multiple choice questions

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


KOLH Philippe

Departement of Biomedical and Preclinical Sciences


+32 4 3665196



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