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Unit information: Coronary Artery Disease in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Coronary Artery Disease
Unit code SOCSM0019
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Bond
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This unit will introduce the clinical problem of cardiovascular 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 pathobiologies including atherosclerosis (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 and interventional treatments for cardiovascular disease.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Discuss the clinical problem of cardiovascular disease.
  • Understand the pathobiologies underlying cardiovascular disease including atherosclerosis.
  • Describe the methods currently utilised for patient assessment of cardiovascular disease.
  • Understand the main risk factors, genomics and epidemiology of cardiovascular disease.
  • Provide an overview of the current pharmacological treatments used for cardiovascular disease patients.
  • Discuss the currently used clinical treatments (surgical interventions) for cardiovascular disease and complications that ensue.

Teaching details

  • Campus-based and web-based (in Powerpoint with recorded audio) lectures, tutorials and practical demonstrations.
  • Online discussion forum(s)
  • Self-directed study

Assessment Details

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

  • 5 sets of on-line multiple choice questions (MCQs) (select the best answer from 4 or 5 options), contributing 10% to the unit
  • Essay (1500 words), contributing 25% to the unit.
  • Short answer (750 words), contributing 15% to the unit.
  • Presentation on a unit-related topic, contributing 10% to the unit.

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

Written exam (contributing a total of 40% to the unit and taken in Bristol) consisting of:

  • Essay paper contributing 25% to the unit.
  • MCQs paper contributing 15% to the unit.

The overall pass-mark for the unit will be 50%. However, students will be required to reach a minimum standard in both their coursework and their written exam; only 5% compensation between the total coursework element and the total exam element will be allowed.

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.

Essential and recommended reading as indicated by each lecturer