Applied Health Physical Therapy 846

AHPT 846: Differential Diagnosis/Imaging

Prerequisites: AHPT 830 or permission of the Department

Credit Hours: (3)

Clinical Medicine III provides an overview of pathological conditions affecting the central and peripheral neurological systems.  Physicians, rehabilitation specialists, and healthcare professionals supplement selected presentations.


Detailed Description of Course

Differential Diagnosis/ Imaging serves as the framework to present patient examination methods that lead to diagnostic reasoning that physical therapists use in clinical decision-making. The course will rely on case study examples to be used in the process of gathering relative clinical information to screen for pathology and physical impairments. Students will master the knowledge required for diagnostic imaging principles and techniques as they apply to physical therapy. Standard imaging procedures that will be addressed in the course include radiography, fluoroscopy, arthrography, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scans, angiography, nuclear medicine and special procedures.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Course content may be presented by lecture, small group discussions, reading and written assignments, and case study analysis.


Goals and Objectives of this Course

Will require students to:

1) Describe the historical development of medical imaging  tools and techniques;

2) Explain the purpose and process of specific diagnostic imaging modalities;

3) Describe indications, contraindications, advantages, and disadvantages of various radiographic tools used in the diagnostic process of musculoskeletal pathology;

4) Correlate the reported or observed findings on an imaging assessment with static and dynamic physical findings;

5) While performing a systems review, recognize a patient’s signs and symptoms that indicate the necessity of a referral for medical imaging studies;

6) Integrate medical imaging information with the patient's history and results of the physical examination to design an appropriate treatment plan;

7) Describe the physical therapist's role in communicating imaging and diagnostic procedure results;

8) Identify an examination scheme that incorporates specific questions and examination techniques used to assist in the process of ruling in/ out the presence of medical conditions;

9) Identify the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and when it is necessary for a medical referral;

10) Describe the markers of GI pathology/ dysfunction;

11) Differentiate symptoms and signs of metabolic disease from those of musculoskeletal origin;

12) Describe the cardinal signs of common metabolic diseases;

13) Discuss common primary skeletal neoplasm’s, skeletal metastasis, and infections and when it becomes appropriate for medical referral;

14) Identify subjective and objective clinical signs to differentiate primary inflammatory disease from mechanical dysfunction and other medical diseases;

15) Describe/ develop a generic method of interpreting imaging reports by applying the criteria used to identify normal radiographic anatomy, common variants, and pathological conditions;

16) Apply imaging information in the formulation of a patient's assessment and the prognosis to maximize the benefits of a plan of care;

17) Describe the presenting signs and symptoms of the primary musculoskeletal, neurological, and systems disorders/ diseases managed by physical therapists.


Assessment Measures

May include but are not limited to: 

Examination, written assignments, and case study analyses


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

December 2, 2011

February 10, 2014