Case Study Creation: Connecting the Pieces with Multi-System Diseases


Because knowledge of human physiology and pathophysiology has grown rapidly over the past 100 years, it is no longer logical to teach each discrete disease process in a single pathophysiology course.  Instead, we focus on educating students to identify deviation from normal physiology by identifying themes of alteration that can be applied to various diseases within body function systems so that they will be able to apply principles of pathophysiology to unfamiliar disease processes and infer general mechanisms of disease, appropriate treatment modalities.  This week you will create a case study as a companion to your final essay.

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Before starting this assignment, familiarize yourself with the instructions for the final essay assignment.  You must use the same complex multi-system disease process for your concept map, case study, and essay.


Design a case study that requires application of pathophysiologic concepts to your chosen disease process.  Your case study should include the following elements:

1. Patient age

2. Past medical history

3. Any medications they are taking

4. Vital signs

5. Presentation (also described as the “chief complaint” or “history of present illness”)

6. Diagnostic values (such as laboratory or radiologic findings)


Include only relevant data–it should not be your goal to “fool” someone with an unnecessarily complex or confusing case, but rather provide an opportunity for practical application of new information.


You should include at least 4 questions for consideration in your case study.  Focus your questions on interpreting the clinical scenario.  For example, you may ask about the significance of a clinical finding or about the significance of a part of the medical history.



The case study is worth 50 points.  Exceptional work will receive a full 50 points.  Average work will receive 40 points.  Work which is below average will receive 30 points.

  • Exceptional work – The student presents a logically ordered case which includes each of the 6 identified elements.  Questions posed demonstrate understanding of the underlying disease process, and there are no conceptual inaccuracies.
  • Average work – The student presents a logically ordered essay which includes each of the 6 identified elements.  Questions posed demonstrate understanding of the underlying disease process, however the student either has some conceptual inaccuracies or misunderstandings.
  • Below average – Student does not have a logical flow or format.  Omits more than one element, or has numerous conceptual inaccuracies or misunderstandings.  Questions are either not supported by the case or available evidence.

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