Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy (to qualify as a physiotherapist) (Verona)


Course code
Name of lecturer
Luigi Cattaneo
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
FISIO VR 1^ ANNO - 2^ SEMESTRE dal Mar 4, 2019 al May 10, 2019.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The General Physiology course aims to provide the basic knowledge of the functioning of tissues and organs of the human body. The main objective is to learn the functioning of the human body as a distributed set of different organs, organized in systems and interacting with each other, with particular attention to integration between cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and digestive systems, in managing exchanges between the external and internal environments and managing internal homeostasis. Students must know how to apply the new knowledge and reasoning skills to the physiology of movement.


1. Cell physiology
1.1. Composition and biophysical characteristics of the cell membrane.
1.2. Passive and active transport. Osmosis.

2. Cardiovascular system
2.1. Generation and conduction of excitement. Cardiac pacemaker. Baroreceptors.
2.2. Intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of cardiac function: Frank-Starling mechanism: preload, afterload and contractility. Heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output.
4.2. Basic elements of hydrostatics and hydrodynamics: pressure, flow, strength and viscosity. Poiseuille’s Law. Laminar and turbulent flow. Laplace’s law.
4.3. Arteries, capillaries and veins. Transcapillary exchanges. Venous circulation. Central and peripheral arterial pulse; Origin and propagation of the pulse wave.
4.4. Blood pressure regulation. Short-term and long-term blood pressure regulation: baroreceptors, kidney-fluid system, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
4.5. Venous return and factors that influence it. Pulmonary hemodynamics.

3. Respiratory system
3.1. Respiratory Mechanics. Intrathoracic and intra-pulmonary pressure and their variations during breathing.
3.2. Pulmonary volumes and capacities: definitions and measurements.
3.3. Physics laws of gasses. Inhaled, exhaled and alveolar air and partial gas pressures. Anatomical and physiological dead space. Pulmonary and alveolar ventilation. Dissension of gases between the lungs and the blood. Oxygen transport.
3.4. Oxygen saturation curve of hemoglobin. Influence of pCO2, pH and temperature. Quantitative aspects of oxygen transport in the blood. Carbon dioxide transport.
3.5. Nervous and chemical respiratory control: brainstem respiratory centers, peripheral and central chemoreceptors.

4. Renal system
4.1. The nephron unit: glomerulus and tubule.
4.2. Renal circulation.
4.3. Filtration process. Composition of the ultrafiltrate. Reabsorption and secretion mechanisms. Renal clearance. Tubular glucose reabsorption. Sodium reabsorption. Water reabsorption.
4.4. Concentration and dilution of urine. Hormonal control of renal function: ADH, aldosterone, renin
4.5. Renal role in Acid-Base Equilibrium.
4.6. Micturition.
4.7. Integrated control mechanisms of the volume and the osmolality of extracellular fluid.

5. Digestive system
5.1. Saliva secretion. Chewing and swallowing.
5.2. Gastric filling and emptying. Gastric secretion: gastric mucosa glands; Composition and functions of gastric juice. Nervous and humoral control of motility and gastric secretion. The vomit reflex.
5.3. Pancreatic exocrine secretion and bile secretion. Nervous and humoral control of pancreatic secretion. Composition, nervous and humoral control of biliary secretion.
5.4. Nervous and hormonal control of intestinal movements and secretion.
5.5. Defecation.
5.6. Intestinal absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, water and electrolytess.
5.7. Short-term and long-term nervous control of appetite.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Widmaier E.P., Raff H., Strang K.T. Vander Fisiologia (Edizione 2) Ambrosiana 2018

Assessment methods and criteria

Examination is oral. The students’ assessment is done with at least 3 questions, each on one of the 5 main points of the program. The exam aims to evaluate the student's understanding of the functioning mechanisms of the human body as a whole and in particular of the interaction between the different systems. Sufficiency is evaluated individually on the General Physiology program and not on average with the evaluation of the Nervous System Physiology Module.


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