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Unit information: Coronary Artery Disease I in 2020/21

Unit name Coronary Artery Disease I
Unit code SOCSM0003
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Johnson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This unit will introduce the clinical problem of coronary artery disease. It will provide an overview of the methods currently utilised for patient diagnosis and assessment of disease severity (from GP to clinic), such as ECG, angiogram, imaging (IVUS, PET) and biomarkers. The unit will provide a detailed overview of the underlying pathobiology of atherosclerosis including endothelial cell dysfunction, inflammation, smooth muscle cell proliferation, migration and apoptosis, plaque rupture, thrombosis and vessel occlusion. Furthermore, it will discuss the impact of genomics on cardiovascular disease, common risk factors (including hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, smoking), and its epidemiology. Finally, this unit will outline the currently used drug treatments for coronary artery disease.

Intended learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  • Discuss the clinical problem of coronary artery disease.
  • Understand the pathobiology of atherosclerosis, which is the underlying cause of coronary artery disease.
  • Describe the methods currently utilised for patient assessment of coronary artery disease.
  • Understand the main risk factors, genomics and epidemiology of coronary artery disease.

Provide an overview of relevant ‘clinical pharmacology’ and the current pharmacological treatments used for coronary artery disease patients

Teaching details

  • Synchronous and asynchronous lectures; tutorials
  • Online discussion forum(s)
  • Self-directed study
  • Practical workshops which will take place in Bristol if possible or will be taught in an alternative online format

Assessment Details

Coursework (contributing a total of 60% to the unit) consisting of:

  • 4 sets of multiple choice questions (MCQs) of a simple format (select the best answer from 4 or 5 options), contributing 10% to the unit.
  • 1 essay (1500 words), contributing 25% to the unit.
  • 1 short answers (750 words), contributing 12.5% to the unit.
  • Public information media piece (e.g. leaflet, poster, website or podcast) on unit-specific relevant topic, contributing 12.5% to the unit.

Please note that students will be given formative feedback on all coursework assessment.

Written exams (contributing a total of 40% to the unit) consisting of:

  • Essay paper, contributing 40% to the unit

Reading and References

Fishbein, MC, The vulnerable and unstable atherosclerotic plaque. Cardiovascular Pathology;19(1):6-11.

Farb, A, AP Burke, AL Tang, Y Liang, P Mannan, J Smialek, R Virmani, Coronary Plaque Erosion Without Rupture Into a Lipid Core : A Frequent Cause of Coronary Thrombosis in Sudden Coronary Death. Circulation, 1996;93(7):1354-1363.

Alsheikh-Ali, AA, GD Kitsios, EM Balk, J Lau, S Ip, The Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Plaque: Scope of the Literature. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010;153(6):387-W149.

Libby, P, Inflammation in atherosclerosis. Nature, 2002;420:868-874.

Libby, P, Y Okamoto, VZ Rocha, E Folco, Inflammation in Atherosclerosis: Transition From Theory to Practice. Circulation Journal, 2010;74(2):213-220.

Toutouzas, K, M Drakopoulou, I Skoumas, C Stefanadis, Advancing therapy for hypercholesterolemia. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 2010;11(10):1659-1672.