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You are in Home >> Exams >> Syllabus: Primary, Final & FCARCSI

Irish syllabus: Physiology

Created: 20/4/2004


Body organisation
Control of internal environment
Physiological control mechanisms
Physiological variations with age
Genes and their expression
Cell membranes and receptors
Protective mechanisms
Acid base balance
Significant ions
Cell metabolism


Body fluid compartments: volume and composition
Capillary function, interstitial fluid
Lymphatic system
Special fluids, including cerebrospinal fluid, pleural, pericardial, peritoneal


Red blood cells
Blood groups
Haemoglobin & variants
Haemostasis & coagulation
White blood cells
The inflammatory response
Immunity & allergy


Origin of membrane potentials
Factors influencing membrane potential
Passive and active changes in membrane potential
Properties of local potentials
Properties of action potentials and variations in different tissues
Nerves; propagated and non-propagated changes in membrane potential, conduction of action potential, synaptic mechanisms
Functional subdivisions of compound nerves


Muscle types; skeletal, smooth, cardiac
Skeletal neuromuscular junction & transmission
Muscle; propagated and non-propagated changes in membrane potential 
Skeletal muscle microstructure and excitation-contraction coupling
Skeletal muscle contraction
Motor units
Mechanisms of neuromuscular transmission and contraction in smooth muscles


Cardiac muscle action potential
Cardiac muscle microstructure and excitation-contraction coupling
Pacemaker tissues
Rhythmicity of the heart
Conduction tissues
The cardiac cycle; phases, pressures, mechanical events, electrical events, relation to ECG and heart sounds
Pressure-volume relationships

Regulation of cardiac function; extrinsic and intrinsic
The Starling relationship
Control of cardiac output
Heart failure and fluid challenge
Normal ECG and common arrhythmias, ischaemic changes
Neural and humoral control of systemic blood pressure, blood volume and blood flow at rest and during physiological disturbances

Structure and function of large arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules and veins
Rheology; pressure/flow/resistance relationships in the peripheral circulation
Special circulations including pulmonary, coronary, cerebral, renal, hepatic


Renal blood flow
Glomerular filtration
Plasma clearance
Tubular functions and formation of concentrated and dilute urine
Renal regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance and role in systemic blood pressure
Renal regulation of acid-base balance
Assessment of renal function
Pathophysiology of acute renal failure
Role in erythropoiesis


Gaseous exchange in the lungs and tissues; O2 & CO2 transport, hypoxia, hyper- and hypocapnia, hyper- & hypobaric pressures, alveolar air
Functions of haemoglobin in oxygen carriage and acid-base balance

Pulmonary ventilation; spirometery, volumes, flows, dead space
Mechanics of ventilation
Ventilation-perfusion relationship; normal physiological variation throughout lungs and V/Q abnormalities, shunt

Control of breathing
Acute and chronic ventilatory failure, including effect of oxygen therapy
Effect of intermittent positive pressure ventilation on the lungs
Non-respiratory function of the lungs


Cerebral  metabolism
Factors determining intracranial pressure
Motor function and pathways; spinal and peripheral
Neurological reflexes
Maintenance of posture
Special senses

Sensory receptors, nociception
Afferent nociceptive pathways
Nociceptive modulation at periphery, at dorsal horn and supraspinally
Visceral pain
Neuropathic pain
Influence of therapy on nociceptive mechanisms
Autonomic nervous system; motor and sensory innervation and reflex responses involving the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and urinary systems


Functional anatomy and blood supply
Metabolic functions
Bile formation
Other functions


Gastric function; secretion, nausea and vomiting
Gut motility, sphincters and reflexes
Digestive functions


Nutrition; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace elements
Metabolic pathways and enzymes for energy production
Metabolic rate
Hormonal control of metabolism
Regulation of plasma glucose
Response to trauma
The stress response
Physiological alterations in starvation, obesity and exercise


Mechanisms of hormonal action; effect on membrane and intracellular receptors, feedback mechanisms
Hypothalamic and pituitary functions
Adrenocortical hormones
Adrenal medullary hormones
Insulin, glucagon and exocrine pancreatic function
Thyroid and parathyroid hormones and calcium homeostasis


Physiological changes in normal pregnancy
Materno-foetal, foetal and neonatal circulations
Changes in the foetus at birth

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