Cardiovascular Disease is the current leading cause of death in the United States.  Patients suffering from cardiovascular disease oftentimes seek the assistance of a Physical Therapist via direct access and they have not been properly screened for cardiovascular dysfunction prior to treatment.  Screening for cardiovascular stability and differential diagnosis are warranted for patient safety, appropriate referral to other allied health professionals, and timely medical management. Despite improvements in technology, understanding, and diagnoses, other cardiovascular and related diseases and disorders comprise most of the leading causes of mortality, morbidity and disability in the US today.

As a doctoring profession seeking to obtain direct access, and as a potential first entry point into the healthcare system, medical screening is a vital component of the clinical examination. This may be especially true in settings, such as in outpatient orthopedics, where patients are least likely to have close physiologic monitoring and may not be referred directly from a physician. Many cardiovascular diagnoses may present with similar symptomology as common neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Given these issues, screening for cardiovascular disease and differential diagnosis skills are critical.

This course will provide rehab professionals with the most recent evidence regarding the screening of the cardiovascular system, and relevant differential diagnosis for physical therapy and rehabilitation practice interventions. This course will also provide guidelines based on the most current evidence for appropriate clinical decision making based on the findings from the physical examination and differential diagnosis.


Course Format: Online, Self-directed including recorded lectures, handouts, supplemental readings and instructional videos

Target Audience: Intermediate level course; open to licensed physical therapists.

Credits: 4 contact hours (4 online and 0 on-site) from EIM Institutes of Health Professions

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Dr. Rich Severin, PT, DPT, CCS


Upon completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  1. Obtain an improved understanding of the prevalence of common cardiovascular diagnoses encountered in neuro-musculoskeletal practice.
  2. Obtain an improved ability to distinguish between frequently encountered cardiovascular disorders which may mimic commonly encountered neuro-musculoskeletal diagnoses.
  3. Develop an improved understanding of effective clinical tests and measures that can be utilized to screen for and differentially diagnose frequently encountered cardiovascular disorders.
  4. Achieve improved confidence on when to appropriately refer to other allied health professionals for timely medical management of frequently encountered cardiovascular disorders.