2023-2024 / PATH0132-1

General principles of clinical diagnosis and of therapeutic


41h Th, 5h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in medicine4 crédits 


Vincent Bonhomme, Laurence de Leval, Philippe Delvenne, Sophie Gillain, André Gothot, Marie-Pierre Hayette, Roland Hustinx, Paul Meunier, Anne-Simone Parent, Régis Radermecker


Philippe Delvenne

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This module is an introduction to the medical approach leading to the most accurate diagnosis through a strategy in 3 successive steps (medical history, clinical examination and prescription of additional tests) and to the choice, in the therapeutic arsenal, of the most appropriate treatment.
It combines various courses with specific content:
Semiology and Pharmacology: This introductory course aims at familiarizing the medical student with the overall approach leading to differential and final medical diagnosis. This strategy is based on three steps: (1) history (systematic and oriented) and (2) clinical examination (systematic and oriented), leading to (3) adequate request of carefully selected additional tests (pathological anatomy, biology, imaging, functional measurements ...). The approach is based not only on an analytical fashion, but also on a syndromic mode, in order to arrive to the correct diagnosis as soon as possible and at a lower cost. A correct diagnosis is essential before initiating pharmacological therapy or not. Particular attention will be paid to the specificities of newborn, infant, child, adolescent and older adult (robustness, vulnerability frailty and importance of determining the patient's profile because of the heterogeneity of the old population).
Pathological anatomy: This course describes the basic principles leading to the screening, diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic response assessment of the diseases. By determining their etiology, pathology and the anatomical lesions which are  induced, it helps to understand the consequences of aggressions on organ functions and their clinical expressions as diseases.
Clinical biology: Introduction to the different areas of clinical biology, mainly clinical chemistry, biological hematology, medical microbiology and clinical toxicology.
Radiology: Practical (technical and clinical) bases of understanding and guidelines for optimal prescription and interpretation of diagnostic imaging.
Nuclear medicine: Description of the main diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, oncological diseases and non-oncological pathology. Examples of integration in the diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms. Basics of dosimetry and radiation protection.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The objectives of this module are (1) to demonstrate to students the contribution of semiology and para-clinical tests in the diagnosis of diseases and (2) to provide general and transversal concepts on their therapeutic management.
These general objectives cover specific learning outcomes:
General semiology: How to make a good case history? How to make good clinical examination? How to select the diagnostic tests?
Pediatric semiology: Awareness of aspects of the history and physical examination that require attention in the context of the pediatric patient. To translate these aspects into examples specific to the different periods: neonates, infants, children and adolescents.
Geriatric semiology: To understand that this is not the age but the functional capabilities that are important in determining when one should support a senior.
Pathological anatomy: To determine the place of pathology in the clinical management (screening, diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic response evaluation, ...). To understand the causes, responses and morphological consequences of aggressions on various anatomical systems through macroscopic and microscopic aspects of disease.
Clinical Biology: In each of the areas of Clinical Biology, the methodology of the most commonly prescribed analyzes will be presented, as well as the principles and limits of interpretation. Will be mainly discussed: Clinical chemistry: plasma and urine; markers of the main functions; an interpretation of clinical chemistry balance. Biological hematology: exploration of the blood count and hemostasis balance. Clinical Microbiology: proper prescribing practices and interpretation in microbiology:

  • Knowledge and limits of the different methods and microorganisms means of detection, diagnosis and monitoring of infections.
  • Preanalytical aspects: importance of choosing the types of sampling, analytical approach to volumes, sampling equipment, transport conditions.
  • Prescribing rules under INAMI conditions.
  • Usual time for obtaining results.
  • Examples of direct examination of result interpretation, culture, PCR, antigen detection and susceptibility to infectious serology.
Clinical toxicology: the ory and practice of therapeutic drug monitoring.   Radiology: Practical knowledge of techniques, indications and contra-indications to optimize the prescription strategy.Basics of interpretation.
Nuclear medicine: To ensure the theoretical training of the future physician to diagnostic and therapeutic techniques of nuclear medicine.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Co and pre-requisites are detailed in the general Baccalaureate Medical formation (global course program).
The student must have a good knowledge of basic science courses, particularly anatomy and physiology. This course will be complemented with clinical courses of modules specific to each system, including those illustrating the use of complementary examinations. A good knowledge of the concepts of homeostasis and allostasis is also recommended.
Pathological anatomy: A good knowledge of histology and general pathology is essential.
Clinical biology: Multidisciplinary approach of different systems and devices. General microbiology and medical microbiology.
Radiology: PHYS3018-1 (Maryse Hoebeke): Physical and technical bases (Tray 1).
Nuclear medicine: Module basic sciences - physics. PHYS3018-1: Physical basis of medical science, including physical bases of medical imaging - Maryse Hoebeke - [20h REPE]

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This module is multidisciplinary and consists of lectures, supplemented by several sessions of practical activities. Clinical formations are included in another course code and complete the diagnosis learning by a patient-centered approach.

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

Blended learning

Additional information:

Face-to-face teaching and/or distance-learning (flipped classrooms)

Recommended or required readings

Slides, podcasts and course notes are made available to students on MyULg and / or on eCampus web sites.

Any session :

- In-person

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

- Remote

written exam

- If evaluation in "hybrid"

preferred in-person

Work placement(s)

See the educational commitment during MSTG3002-1

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Consult the Vade Mecum for students.


Coordinator of the module:
Professor Ph. Delvenne
Pathology Department
Pathology Tower (1st floor), Sart Tilman.
Tel .: 04 / 366.24.10.

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Slides of Prof. Bonhomme - Lecture given on March 8, 2023
Slides of the course.

Healthy aging, individual aging, functional reserve and frailty
This lecture will be in french.

The topic concerns healthy aging, functional reserve and frailty.

Prescription and interpretation of complementary exams - Prof. Bonhomme - Lecture given on 021924
Slides of the lecture.