Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Respiratory Failure MED5570P

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

The aim of this course is to provide the student with a detailed insight into respiratory system failure. This will include physiology, pathophysiology of key conditions leading to respiratory failure and diagnosis. In addition it will cover state of the art management of respiratory failure in a Critical Care environment including advanced mechanical ventilation and Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).


A variety of teaching methods in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be scheduled for students to complete over 12 weeks including: recorded lectures, live tutorials, webinars, and interactive cases. Throughout the course students will also be expected to engage in monitored discussion forums in the VLE to promote peer assisted learning.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





The students will be assessed using 2 methods:


1. Written assignment: The student will write a 2,000 word anonymised case study of a patient they have cared for. (70%)


2. Written exam: Short answer questions on aspects of respiratory failure appropriate to the student's profession. (30%) 

Course Aims

The students will have in-depth knowledge of respiratory physiology, the pathphysiology of key conditions leading to respiratory failure, how respiratory failure manifests in clinical practice and how it is diagnosed. Students will also develop in depth knowledge of how respiratory failure is managed especially in a Critical Care environment with particular reference to ventilatory support and Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Explain fundamental principles of respiratory physiology.

2. Evaluate pathophysiological processes which lead to respiratory failure.

3. Identify and critically appraise published literature in relation to diagnosis and management of respiratory failure.

4. Demonstrate an awareness of complex issues and make informed judgments in relation to the management of critically ill patients with respiratory failure.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.