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The University of Southampton

HPRS2027 Non-Invasive Cardiac Physiology

Module Overview

This module will further establish your knowledge, technical skills and develop your clinical reasoning within non-invasive cardiology. The fundamental theme will be your ability to clinically interpret electrocardiographic data derived from a range of procedures including; 12 lead ECGs , ambulatory monitoring and cardiac stress testing and introduces echocardiography. Your teaching will take place in a dedicated specialist facility at University Hospital Southampton and delivered by clinical specialists. All theory and practice is designed to prepare you for your year 2 clinical placement in a cardiac department.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the need for calibration and quality assurance for all measurements undertaken in Cardiac Physiology
  • Interpretation of electrocardiograms including arrhythmias and morphological abnormalities.
  • Explain the principles of a range of routine non-invasive diagnostic cardiac investigations and compare and contrast each modality. a) 12 lead Clinical Electrocardiography b) Ambulatory electrocardiography application and analysis c) Blood pressure measurement d) Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring e) Cardiac stress testing procedures (including echocardiography)
  • Recognise and evaluate limitations of non-invasive investigations.
  • Appreciate the need for effective communication skills and respect for the rights, dignity and privacy of patients.
  • Become informed recipients of research evidence in healthcare science by critically appraising professional journals and associated literature using established appraisal tools


In this module students will build on Year 1 learning and begin detailed learning that underpins the routine practical techniques. Clinical Electrocardiography - Characteristics of recording equipment - Components and functions - Settings and adjustments made based on patient category - Recommended measurement technique Development of a framework for interpretation of ECG's - The Normal ECG from birth to old age - Anatomy - Physiology - Leads - Rate - Rhythm - Cardiac Axis - Terminology - Sinus Rhythms Recognition of life threatening arrhythmias - Ventricular fibrillation - Asystole - Ventricular tachycardia Recognition of: - Common arrhythmias: - Sinus arrhythmia - Sinus bradycardia - Sinus tachycardia - Atrial fibrillation - Atrial ectopics - Atrioventricular conduction blocks - Ventricular arrhythmias - The effect of myocardial Infarction and ischaemia on the electrocardiogram Routine Blood Pressure Measurement - Principles and limitations of range of recording equipment used to measure blood pressure - Mercury and aneroid sphygmomanometers - Electronic Devices including wrist devices - Device calibration - Indications for blood pressure measurement - Factors affecting blood pressure including blood pressure variability and white coat hypertension. - Recommended measurement technique - Common errors in blood pressure measurement - Observer - Equipment - Patient - Cardiac Arrhythmias - Normal blood pressure ranges - Definition of hypertension Ambulatory blood pressure recording - Characteristics of recording equipment - Indications - Contra-Indications - Recommended measurement technique - Normal Ranges - Common problems - Analysis, presentation and evaluation of results Ambulatory electrocardiography - Characteristics of recording equipment - Indications - Contra-Indications - The effect of activity on the circulatory system - Recommended measurement technique - Common problems - Analysis, presentation and evaluation of results Cardiac stress testing - Characteristics of recording equipment - Indications - Contra-Indications and end-points - Recommended measurement modality - Common problems - Protocols for cardiac stress testing - The effect of exercise on the heart, lungs and circulation - ECG and functional changes associated with ischaemic heart disease - Cardiac arrhythmias and exercise - Differential diagnosis of cardiac and non-cardiac outcomes - Introduction to transthoracic echocardiography Communication skills and team working

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Students will learn by exploring material in seminars and laboratory practical's in conjunction with directed learning. Students will be encouraged to take responsibility for the development of their own learning by utilising a variety of means such as multimedia resources, and the library, and by self-directed development of the study skills necessary to access these resources.

Clinical Practice17.5
Independent Study292.5
Total study time375

Resources & Reading list

Conover M (2002). Understanding Electrocardiography. 

Ellestad, M. (2003). Stress testing: Principles and Practice. 

Morris, F. (2008). The ABC of Clinical Electrocardiography. 

Opie, L. (2004). Heart Physiology: From Cell to Circulation. 

Bono, R (2008). Braunwald's Heart Disease. 

Wagner, G. (2007). Marriott's Practical Electrocardiography. 

Huszar, R (2007). Basic Dysrhythmias: Interpretation & management. 

Bennett, D. (2013). Cardiac Arrhythmias: Practical Notes on Interpretation and Treatment. 

Guyton, A. (2016). Textbook of Medical Physiology. 

Klabunde, R. (2005). Cardiovascular Physiology Concepts. 


Assessment Strategy

Both components of the summative assessment must be passed


Critical article and verbal presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (2000 words) 50%
Exam  (2 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (2000 words) 50%
Exam  (2 hours) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

HPRS1034Scientific Basis of Cardiovascular/Respiratory and Sleep Science (part 1)
HSGM1001An Introduction to Professional Practice (BSc)


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional student costs for this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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