Differential Diagnosis and Complementary Diagnostic Tests


The aim of this curricular unit is to develop students' knowledge about laboratory and clinical tests used to diagnose musculoskeletal conditions, and how they relate with the signs and symptoms of the most important musculoskeletal conditions. At the end of this unit the student should demonstrate capacity to identify inflammatory, painful and mechanic/degenerative situations and to understand dysfunction resulting from musculoskeletal conditions. Furthermore, the students should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of differential diagnosis, (aetiology of the rheumatologic conditions), rheumatologic conditions aetiology and prescription and interpretation of diagnostic tests (Laboratory complementary tests, Imaging tests).

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Profª. Doutora Ana Filipa de Sousa Pestana Mourão


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese / English




Branco JC; Grandes síndromas em reumatologia, Lisboa, Lidel, 2006.

Branco JC;Avaliação Diagnostica em Reumatologia, Lisboa, Permanyer, 2000.

Hakim A e Clunie G;Oxford handbook of rheumatology, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Buchanan WW, Ceulaer K, Balint GP;Clinical Examination of the Musculoskeletal System. Assessing Rheumatic Conditions, Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1996.

Lipsky PE.; Algorithms for the Diagnosis and Management of Musculoskeletal Complaints, Am J Med; 103 (6A), 1997.

Teaching method

Teaching and learning strategies include: lectures and seminars, small tutorial groups, clinical skills lab and self-directed Learning.

Evaluation method

The assessment methods include a multiple choice written test of 1-hour length (100%). To complete this curricular unit the students must have a classification of a minimum of 50% in the test.

Subject matter

·       Differential diagnosis: Inflammatory, mechanical and painful syndromes in rheumatologic diseases.

·        Symptoms and signs requiring specialized intervention;

·        Differential diagnosis: Systemic and regional diseases;

·        Laboratory complementary tests, prescription and respective interpretation;

·        Imaging complementary tests, prescription and respective interpretation;

·        Other diagnostic tests to the study of musculoskeletal conditions, prescription and respective interpretation;

·        Relationship of the diagnostic tests data with the most relevant clinical signs of musculoskeletal conditions;

·        Practical applications about requesting and analysing diagnostic tests in clinical context.


Programs where the course is taught: