Topics in Pathology for the PTA
I. Course Prefix/Number: PTA 220
Course Name: Topics in Pathology for the PTA
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
Course provides study of diseases and disorders most commonly seen in physical therapy practice.
IV. Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an appreciation for basic concepts of health and disease.
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the influences of social, economic, legislative and demographic factors in the delivery of healthcare and various problems and limitations of health care systems.
- Describe the process of differential diagnosis.
- Demonstrate an understanding of normal body defenses against disease.
- Distinguish between immunity, immunodeficiency and autoimmunity.
- Categorize and compare various infectious diseases and apply knowledge of infection control principles to them.
- Differentiate between congenital and hereditary diseases.
- Describe common blood and lymphatic diseases.
- Describe cardiovascular and heart diseases.
- Categorize and discuss respiratory disease.
- Demonstrate understanding of various types of environmental disease and the role of occupational medicine in prevention and treatment.
- Demonstrate understanding of disorders of tissue growth and neoplasia and the ability to compare and contrast various treatment options.
- Describe disorders of the urinary and gastrointestinal systems and relate common symptoms to disease.
- Describe pathological processes of metabolic, endocrine and liver diseases.
- Demonstrate understanding of the pathology of the nervous system and describe various neurological conditions and diseases including psychological and psychiatric disorders.
- Demonstrate understanding of pathology of the musculoskeletal system.
- Apply knowledge of conditions and diseases studied in this course to physical therapy treatment in order to assess, modify or question the plan of care.
- Summarize information about frequently used medications in the treatment of the diseases and conditions studied in this course. Demonstrate understanding of how frequently used medications and combinations of medications can affect physical therapy care.
- Utilize and evaluate current resources of medical and scientific information including professional literature and internet sources in the study of pathology.
- Recognize sources of evidence based information.
- Apply readings, discussion and theory to the “total care” of patients and the practice of physical therapy.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
- Health and Disease
- Comparison of definitions
- Healthcare Delivery System
- Differential Diagnosis
- Identification of risk factors
- Identification of causes for diseases
- Frequently used diagnostic tests and procedures
- Defense Against Disease
- Inflammatory process
- Tissue repair
- Cardinal signs of inflammation
- Immunity, immunodificiency, autoimmunity
- Hypersensitivity and allergy
- Special problems of HIV and AIDS for physical therapy practice
- Infectious Diseases
- Treatment options
- Infection control and application to P.T.
- Congenital and Hereditary Diseases
- Hereditary as risk factor
- High risk neonates
- Human Genome Project
- Blood and Lymphatic Diseases
- Signs and symptoms
- Relate to physical therapy treatments
- Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
- Risk factors
- Signs, symptoms, frequent complications
- Surgical and medical treatments
- Respiratory Disease
- Acute vs chronic
- Diagnosis and Treatment
- Problems common to
- Lung cancer
- Environmental Diseases
- Hazardous elements of home and work settings
- The field of occupational medicine
- Disorders of tissue growth and neoplasia
- Factors in carcinogenesis
- Complications and affects on P.T.
- Urinary and G.I. Disorders
- Forms of incontinence
- Kidney failure and dialysis
- Common symptoms
- Acute vs chronic
- Procedures for diagnosis and treatment
- Metabolic endocrine and liver diseases
- Signs, symptoms
- Forms of diabetes
- Hormonal diseases
- Liver, biliary tract and pancreatic diseases
- Effects of aging, alcoholism and hepatitis an organ function
- Pathology of the Nervous System
- Signs and symptoms
- Appropriate responses to treatment
- Relate to P.T. plans of treatment
- Pathology of the Musculoskeletal System
- Common bone and muscle diseases
- Procedure for diagnosis
- Acute vs. chronic
- Treatment procedures
- Role and effects of pharmacological agents frequently used in medical management of diseases studied in this course.
VII. Methods of Instruction
- The primary modality for relay of information from instructor is lecture and discussion.
- Written quizzes, major examinations and homework assignments are included.
- All evaluation results are shared with each student on an individual or group basis soon following test administration to ensure comprehension of material.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
The student will be required to:
- Attend 3 hours lecture per week
- Students are responsible for all assigned readings and materials presented in class and all homework assignments are to be completed in a timely manner.
- Students are expected to actively participate in all class activities.
IX. Instructional Materials
- Required texts:
- Damjanov, Pathology for the Health Professional 3rd ed.
- O’Sullivan and Schmitz, Physical Rehabilitation, 6th ed.
or texts of comparable content.
- Recommended: Medical Dictionary
- Selected AUDIO‑VISUAL MATERIALS; hand‑outs.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
May vary with individual instructor but may include:
- Quizzes, may be announced or unannounced.
- Midterm and Final Exams
- Homework assignments
- Class participation.
- Written exams will be announced. Make up exams will be given at the sole discretion of instructor.
Grades determined by following scale:
XI. Other Course Information
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.