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The University of Southampton

HPRS2030 Instrumentation, Signal Processing and Imaging

Module Overview

Medical Devices lie at the heart of all measurements performed by Clinical Physiologists and correct use is therefore essential to providing a high quality service. This module will introduce you to the principles of operation of common devices that you will use in your practice. You will learn how to measure their performance and determine if it is acceptable for clinical use. You will discuss how performance can be optimised through calibration, quality assurance and standard operating procedures and consider risks. This module has a strong emphasis on application to practice, taking simple scientific concepts and translating them to the particular device being studied.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to equip you with a knowledge of the underpinning principles and properties of the measurement and imaging techniques that underpin investigations in Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sleep Sciences.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain, using the correct terminology, the basic equipment / techniques used within the HCS specialisms of Cardiology, Vascular, Respiratory and Sleep Sciences
  • Analyse the principles of operation of equipment and techniques in each specialism
  • Critically evaluate the risks and benefits related to equipment and techniques, including safety
  • Discuss and justify the quality assurance (and if applicable legislative) framework for equipment and techniques in each specialism
  • Systematically analyse available data sets (quantitative and qualitative) which underpin the practice of healthcare science and with particular reference to this module's content
  • Critically appraise professional journal articles and associated literature using established appraisal tools


- Equipment functions and characteristics - Equipment safety - Application and choice of equipment - Amplifier characteristics and functions - Noise and noise reduction - Operation, specifications, advantages and limitations of filters - Fluid flow through tubes: Poiseuille’s Law, laminar and turbulent flow, blood flow - Differentiation of volume and integration of flow signals - Digitisation of signals - Computer acquisition, storage and analysis of physiological signals Techniques underpinning: - volume and flow measuring devices used to measure dynamic lung volumes and flows and static lung volumes - respiratory gas analysis - pulse oximetry - positive airway pressure therapy - airflow, pulse oximetry, respiratory effort, body position, sound during sleep - electrocardiography - blood pressure measurement - imaging techniques including ultrasound, X-ray, computerised tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), isotopes - Hazards and safe of use of imaging techniques

Special Features

This module aims to ensure not only that you gain underpinning knowledge relevant to your specialism but also that you are able to apply concepts in a way that enhances your practice. You will take theoretical concepts and apply them to relevant case studies often discussed in groups. You will be encouraged to draw upon your prior knowledge and experience gained either during placement or elsewhere. A wide variety of information sources such as research papers, standards, professional guidance and books will be drawn upon to ensure that you have an awareness of latest best practice and develop an ability to develop independently. The module is delivered by nationally leading lecturer's with first hand experience of the healthcare environment. Drawing upon this experience enables problems typically encountered in practice to be discussed thereby better preparing you for your future role.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, tutorials, case studies, practical's, demonstrations, self-directed learning, use of the Faculty virtual learning environment (Blackboard) and the collaborative sharing of experience from practice placements and other experiential learning. A key element of this module is to ensure you are able to apply theoretical concepts to your daily placement practice.

Independent Study315
Total study time375

Resources & Reading list

B.H Brown, R.H Smallwood, D.C. Barber, P.V Lawford, D.R Hose. Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. 

Stella Cottrell. The Study Skills Handbook (Palgrave Study Skills). 

Raghbir Singh Khandpur. Handbook of biomedical instrumentation. 

Allisy-Roberts, P.J., Williams J. Farr's Physics for Medical Imaging. 

Trisha Greenhalgh. How to read a paper : the basics of evidence-based medicine. 

John G Webster. Medical Instrumentation: Application and Design. 



Blackboard quizzes


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 50%
Final Exam  (2 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


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 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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