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Cardiovascular and respiratory physiology

Course Type
Postgraduate, Module

Module Overview

This module will allow students to develop an understanding of the mechanisms currently considered to regulate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems during exercise. Emphasis will be placed on afferent signals generated in active muscle that drive and modulate cardiovascular and respiratory reflexes and on the concept of central command as an initiating and modulating mechanism.  Coupling between the respiratory and cardiovascular systems will be considered and special attention paid to mechanisms that allow the increase in respiration to be matched to the level of exercise.  The factors that regulate blood flow in active muscle and the brain will be considered. These mechanisms and their role in cardiovascular and respiratory health will be emphasized by encouraging students to consider the changes that occur during training, ageing and in common diseases such as hypertension, COPD and heart failure.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the central and peripheral mechanisms that regulate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in exercise and their interactions;
  • Critically evaluate primary literature and show understanding of experimental study designs relevant to the module subject area;
  • Discuss the evidence-base for, and the outcomes of, the use of exercise programmes to enhance cardiovascular and respiratory function in health and disease.


20 credits

Module Attendance Required

  • Lectures giving an overview of topic areas and/or dealing with difficult concepts,
  • “Journal club” sessions based on original papers and reviews in which students are active participants or leading.
  • Problem/case-based sessions for which students work in groups to evaluate evidence, diagnose problems and devise strategy for management and/or improvement
  • Practical demonstration sessions in which students experience a range of cardiovascular and respiratory variables during exercise, using a range of methodologies and techniques.

Module Dates

  • 16, 17, 18 January 2018
  • 23, 24, 25 January 2018


Submission of a written analysis, interpretation or case-based study in which the student is expected to make critical use of primary literature.

Academics involved in the delivery of this module

Dr Mike White (module organiser)
Dr Mike Parkes
Dr James Fisher