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MEDI2042 Gastrointestinal (GI)

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the key elements of the gastrointestinal system from development through to clinical pathophysiology. The module will focus on the anatomy and physiology of the normal GI system and investigate the common mechanisms of disease and appropriate treatments. Graduate Attributes Graduate Attributes are the personal qualities, skills and understanding you can develop during your studies. They include but extend beyond your knowledge of an academic discipline and its technical proficiencies. Graduate Attributes are important because they equip you for the challenge of contributing to your chosen profession and may enable you to take a leading role in shaping the society in which you live. These are: • Global citizenship – Graduates will have the ability to recognise the value of meaningful contribution to an interconnected global society and aspire to realise an individual’s human rights with tolerance and respect for other cultures. • Ethical leadership – Graduates will hold personal beliefs and understand the value of contributing responsibly to the benefit of their chosen professions, as well as local, national and international communities. • Research and enquiry – Graduates will have an understanding of current developments in their discipline and be able to create new knowledge and apply critical solutions through research and enquiry. • Academic – Graduates will appreciate the value of interdisciplinary scholarship and can demonstrate an in-depth independent capacity to absorb and apply knowledge, develop ideas and solve problems. • Communication skills – Graduates will recognise the value of communication and demonstrate a capacity to learn from and influence the thinking of others through the exchange of ideas. • Reflective learner - Graduates will be capable of the independent reflection necessary to develop their learning and continuously meet the challenge of pursuing excellence in their profession. The graduate attributes above map closely to the graduate outcomes in Tomorrows Doctors 2009 to which all the BM learning outcomes align. We offer you the opportunity to develop these attributes through your successful engagement with the learning and teaching of your programme and your active participation in University life. The skills, knowledge and personal qualities that underpin the Graduate Attributes framework are supported by all the BM curricula. As such, each attribute is enriched, made distinct and expressed through the variety of learning you will experience. Doctors work in shift patterns and rotas throughout much of their working lives and to prepare you for such working once you graduate, throughout your programme you will be expected to undertake placements in the evenings and at weekends. This will not be an onerous requirement and will be negotiated well in advance so that students with carers’ requirements will be able to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for cover. At later stages in your programme, particularly during the Assistantship module, you will be expected to undertake some night working, again in order to prepare you for your future working life.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Develop the student’s understanding of the normal and abnormal structure and function of the gastrointestinal system • Integrate the basic sciences with relevant clinical topics, both in taught sessions and self-directed study • Address the theory behind pathological processes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments • Enable students to reflect upon the psychological and social impacts of diseases of this system • Encourage students to develop their skills as both learners and future professional in the medical field. • Integrate learning from previous modules (Foundations of Medicine; Nervous and Locomotor Systems 1, Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Renal 1, Respiratory, Cardiovascular) and Renal 2, and Nervous and Locomotor 2). The learning outcomes below map directly to one or more of the Programme learning outcomes [as indicated in square brackets] which in turn are taken from the GMC’s Tomorrow’s Doctors (2009).

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the normal structure, function and development of the gastrointestinal system [1.1a]
  • Describe the principles behind, justify reasons for, and begin to interpret relevant clinical investigations [2.1g, 2.2d]
  • Use verbal and written communication effectively [2.3a, 2.3b, 2.3c]
  • Learn independently and manage your time appropriately [3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2d]
  • Recognise the impact of disease and dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system on patients and their families and the scope of treatment and management options available within healthcare [3.2c, 3.3b, 3.4a]
  • Identify the main mechanisms by which structure and function of the gastrointestinal system is disturbed during disease processes and describe the scientific bases of diseases that result [1.1b]
  • Identify links between the basic sciences and clinical case histories [1.1b, 1.1e, 1.1g, 1.2d, 1.3d, 1.4b]
  • Describe methods available to study gastrointestinal disease in individual patients and justify their use [1.1c, 1.1d]
  • Describe the mechanism of action of drugs used to treat gastrointestinal diseases, and the principles underlying non-pharmacological treatment options [1.1e, 1.1f, 2.5b]
  • Identify psychological causes and consequences of gastrointestinal disease [1.2b, 1.2c, 1.2d]
  • Recognise social consequences of gastrointestinal disease, including patients, their families and wider society [1.3b, 1.3c]
  • Describe the epidemiology of common conditions affecting this system, and approaches to disease prevention [1.4e, 1.4f]
  • Demonstrate appropriate numeracy skills in the calculation and interpretation of quantitative scientific and clinical data [1.1f, 1.1g]


Anatomy and embryology • The development and gross anatomy of the: • Foregut region of the GI tract and related structures • Midgut region of the GI tract and related structures • Hindgut region of the GI tract and related structures • Liver and related structures Biochemistry • Liver function • Protein and amino acid metabolism • Bile Clinical topics • Anaemia • Radiology of the abdomen • Mucosal barrier • Molecular virology of hepatitis • Malnutrition and GI disorders • Parasites of the gut • Viral gastroenteritis • Clinical examination, pain, and spread of diseases • Coeliac disease Histology • Gut tube • GI accessory glands Nutrition • Appetite • Nutrition and the colon Pathology • Fibrosis, cirrhosis and fatty change • Barrett’s oesophagus • Chronic pancreatitis Pharmacology • Anti-ulcer drugs • Anti-microbials • Anti-malarial drugs • Anti-viral drugs • Pharmacokinetics • Drugs, metabolism and elimination • Diarrhoea and constipation Physiology • Functions of the mouth and stomach • Secretions of the GI system • Pancreas and biliary tree • Calcium, vitamins and iron • Digestion and absorption • Colon, rectum, and anal canal Psychology • GI disorders: Psychological causes and consequences Symposia • Dyspepsia, ulcers and reflux: o H. pylori epidemiology and screening o Physiology and pathology of upper GI diseases o Diagnosis and management of upper GI diseases o Drug treatments • Liver disease o Epidemiology o Pathology in the management of liver disease o Physiological and biochemical consequences of cirrhosis • GI infection and immunology o GI infections and diarrhoea o Microbiological examination of infective diarrhoea, public health role, and interventions for reducing diarrhoeal morbidity or mortality o Mucosal immunology and infection • IBD and Coeliac disease o Pathology of IBD and Coeliac disease o Immunology of IBD and Coeliac disease o Clinical aspects of IBD and Coeliac disease o Clinical pharmacology of IBD and Coeliac disease • Colorectal cancer o Epidemiology and screening o Genetics o Pathology o Surgical aspects

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be taught through a range of learning and teaching strategies which will include: • Lectures • Tutor led small group sessions/tutorials • Practical sessions • Guided self-study • eLearning

Wider reading or practice30
Preparation for scheduled sessions53.5
Practical classes and workshops13
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

The standard textbooks on the BM5 Recommended Reading List.

Faculty of Medicine. GI virtual patients.

Smith ME, Morton DG (2010). The Digestive System. 

Faculty of Medicine. Pathology interactive practicals (PiPs).

Faculty of Medicine. Anatomy theme website. Anatomy and histology interactive materials.

Griffiths M. (2012). Crash Course Gastrointestinal System. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question  (2 hours) 40%
Practical paper  (20 minutes) 20%
Written paper 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question 40%
Practical paper  (20 minutes) 20%
Written paper 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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