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Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology

Spring 2007

18th-century Japanese woodcut print entitled "Diet for Health" illustrating the functions of the digestive system. (From the National Library of Medicine.)

Highlights of this Course

Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology explores the pathophysiology of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders from gastroesophageal reflux disease to cirrhosis. The course emphasizes fundamental topics in gastrointestinal pathophysiology, with a focus on correlation to clinical issues including treatment options for various common gastrointestinal disorders, each of which are covered in detail.  Topics are presented in the syllabus, in didactic lectures, and in small group sessions.  The materials presented in this course are a foundation for further learning in Gastroenterology.

Course Description

This course reviews the pathophysiology of common gastrointestinal conditions and assumes a general understanding of gastrointestinal physiology.  The course follows an organ based structure to include disorders of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, small intestines, pancreas, biliary system, and liver.  The material is presented in the syllabus, lecture slides, and small group sessions. Self-assessment questions are provided at the end of each lecture and examinations are provided for review and self-testing.

Popular Content

  • Diarrhea and Malabsorption
  • Liver Failure: Cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology: Review
  • Colon Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology 2006 Exam

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions. 



  • To provide a basic understanding of clinical gastrointestinal pathophysiology.

1. Reference Textbook

For more detailed information on topics presented in the syllabus, the student is referred to Sleisenger & Fordtran's gastrointestinal and liver disease : pathophysiology, diagnosis, management , 8th Edition (Volumes 1 and 2) / edited by Mark Feldman, Lawrence S. Friedman, Lawrence J. Brandt; consulting editor, Marvin H. Sleisenger. St. Louis, Mo.: MD Consult, 2006.

2. Relevant Reading from the GI Textbook - Sleisenger and Fortran, 8th edition

The textbook referenced is Sleisenger and Fordtran, 8th edition.

There is no other satisfactory, comprehensive text on GI pathophysiology. However, the chapters in this text go into detail that is beyond the scope of this course. The student should refer to the syllabus, small groups, and lectures as the primary source of material.

  1. Esophagus

    1. Section II, pg 109-119

    2. Section V, pg 855-948

  2. Stomach/Duodenal

    1. Section VI, pg 1049-1066

    2. Section VI, pg 1089-1138

  3. Diarrhea/Malabsorption

    1. Section II, 159-186

    2. Section X, 2199-2256

    3. Section X, 2277-2306

  4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    1. Section X, 2459-2548

  5. Colon Disorders

    1. Section X, 2599-2652

    2. Section X, 2833-2856

  6. Pancreatitis

    1. Section VII, 1241-1308

  7. Gallstones

    1. Section VIII, 1387-1442

  8. Liver Function Tests

    1. Section IX, 1575-1588

  9. Viral Hepatitis

    1. Section IX, 1639-1718

  10. Cirrhosis/Liver Failure

    1. Section IX, 1899-1992

3. Small Group Sessions

The small group sessions are an integral part of the course. The clinical topics, including treatment issues, discussed in the small groups will complement the lecture material. Handouts will be provided at the small group sessions.

4. Exam

The exam questions are designed based on the national board exam format. Students are referred to the self-assessment questions at the end of each lecture. The gastrointestinal pathophysiology exams prior to 2004 should be reviewed for content only. The questions in exams prior to 2004 are not representative of the format which will be followed this year.

5. Final Thought

Have fun! We hope you enjoy learning about Gastroenterology as much as we enjoy teaching and practicing Gastroenterology.


Session   Type Title  
1 Lecture Esophageal  
2 Lecture GI Pharmacology - Part I  
3 Lecture Gastric and Duodenal Disease  
4 Lecture Diarrhea and Malabsorption  
5 Lecture Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Parts I and II  
6 Lecture Colon Disorders  
7 Lecture GI Pharmacology - Part II  
8 Lecture Pancreatitis  
9 Lecture Gallstones  
10 Lecture Liver Function Tests  
11 Lecture Viral Hepatitis  
12 Lecture Liver Failure  
13 Lecture Review  
14 Examination Exam  
15 Small Group Esophagus (Small Group)  
16 Small Group Gastric and Duodenal (Small Group)  
17 Small Group Pancreatitis, Diarrhea, and Malabsorption (Small Group)  
18 Small Group Gallstones and Liver Disfunction (Small Group)   Tell A Friend