Full CCS Preparatory Course

COURSE TITLE:  Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialty (CCS) Examination Preparatory Course


Course Coordinator:  Morgan Johanson, PT, MSPT, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist

Course Instructors:  Morgan Johanson, PT, MSPT, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist; Molly Piech, PT,DPT, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist; Jillian Addy Tanych Taho, PT, DPT, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist

CLOCK HOURS:   24  2-hour recorded lectures; 24  10-question post-lecture quizzes; 20  2-hour live case study/discussions; 2  100-question online practice examinations; 3 hours live one-on-one mentoring following both practice exams

CEUS:  64 hours (6.4 CEUs) – Completion certificate issued upon course completion


1. Physical therapy degree from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy program

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course provides didactic instruction in physiology, anatomy, pathology, medical, and therapeutic concepts related to specialty-level cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy practice across the life span. The course also presents specific Physical Therapy instruction in examination, evaluation, patient care program development, intervention, and progression of the cardiovascular and pulmonary patient across settings. Content is correlated to the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Description of Specialty Practice (DSP), thus, participants will also receive instruction on administration, leadership, teaching, ethics and research.  The course is designed to allow direct application to the practitioner’s clinical practice.

TEACHING METHODS:  Evidence-based case studies, webinars, discussion, and reading assignments.

          Online Webinars: All 24 lectures are pre-recorded so that the participant can view them on dates and times that are convenient for the participant.

         Quizzes: All 24 quizzes are multiple choices questions designed to test comprehension of lecture content.

          Case Studies: All 20 case studies have 20 associated questions; cases will be issued via email following the course schedule below. All live online case study discussion sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 7-9 pm EST. Participants will have 1 week (work done on your own time) to complete the associated case questions. Answers must be submitted to the course instructor in writing. It is preferred that answers to the questions are typed. All answers must be emailed to the instructor the day of the scheduled discussion session. Answers will be discussed during the live online 2-hour meeting. Instructor feedback will be provided to ensure accuracy and understanding of the topics associated with each case. (In the event the participant can’t attend live on Tuesdays, all discussions will be recorded.)

         Practice Tests: Two 100-question examinations will be administered after all lectures and case studies are completed. Each test is 3 hours in length and administered via an online operating system. The individual takes the practice test on their own time. A 1.5-hour web based conference will be held following completion of each test to discuss answers and ensure understanding.


  1. Hillegass EA, Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy, 5th ed., Elsevier, 2022.


  1. American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing & Prescription, 11th ed., ACSM, 2021
  2. American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Guidelines for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Programs, Human Kinetics, 6th Edition
  3. American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Guidelines for Pulmonary Rehabilitation, 5th Edition
  4. McCardle WD, Katch FI, and Katch VL, Essentials of Exercise Physiology, 4th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011


  1. Frownfelter D & Dean E. Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy, 6th ed. & accompanying Clinical Case Study Guide Mosby, 2022
  2. DeTurk W, Cahalin L. Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy: An Evidence-Based Approach., McGraw Hill, 2004

GRADING: This course is not graded.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: At the completion of this course the participant will be able to:

  1. Describe the anatomy and physiology of the human oxygen transport system
  2. Explain the pathophysiology, diagnosis and medical management of frequently seen and rarely seen CVP diseases
  3. Interpret ECG tracings for CVP patients
  4. Interpret CVP diagnostic testing
  5. Describe the mechanism of action, indications for prescription, ramifications for Physical Therapy, and adverse side effects for CVP medications
  6. Perform a thorough chest exam and a complete mobility examination for adult patients with CVP diagnoses
  7. Conduct appropriate exercise tests and interpret results of exercise testing
  8. State primary and secondary prevention recommendations, including exercise prescription principles for cardiac patients for Phase I-III
  9. Impact the performance of the fragile CVP patient with breathing and airway clearance exercises and techniques
  10. Explain the pathophysiology, diagnosis and medical management of CVP pediatric conditions
  11. Appropriately select and progress Physical Therapy interventions with pediatric CVP patients
  12. Select appropriate outcome measures and interpret the results for CVP patients
  13. Explain the pathophysiology, diagnosis and medical management of Diabetes, Renal Failure, Liver Failure, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, and describe how the cardiac and pulmonary systems are involved
  14. Explain the pathophysiology, diagnosis and medical management for Pulmonary Hpertension, Shock and Heart Failure and describe the Physical Therapy interventions used to treat these complex cardiovascular diseases
  15. Describe the lines, leads and monitoring equipment used in the ICU, discuss the ramifications for physical therapy and state normal and abnormal values for the various equipment
  16. Discuss exercise physiology principles
  17. Define the rationale for heart and lung transplant, state eligibility, patient selection criteria, diagnostic testing and medical management for these patients, and describe the pre and post Physical Therapy treatment for these patients
  18. Define Ventricular Assistive Device and Total Heart, and describe the medical management, monitoring capabilities and Physical Therapy interventions for these patients
  19. State research principles, define various forms of bias, select appropriate tests to answer a research question and interpret research studies
  20. Integrate the above knowledge and apply it to case studies for adult and pediatric CVP patients

COURSE COST:  $1695.00



Lecture Topics Recommended Readings
CV Anatomy and Physiology CH 1-2
Pulm Anatomy and Physiology CH 1-2
CV Pathophysiology CH 3-5
Pulm Pathophysiology CH 6-
ECG Recognition CH 11
CVP Diagnostic Testing CH 10, 12
ICU Lines, Leads and Monitoring CH 15
CVP Medications CH 16-17
CVP PT Examination CH 18
Exercise Testing and Prescription CH 10
CVP PT Interventions CH 19-20
Breathing and Airway Clearance Exercises and Techniques CH 19
CVP Pediatric Conditions CH 22
CVP Pediatric PT Interventions CH 22
CVP Implications of Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Renal Failure,  and Liver failure CH 9
Shock and Pulmonary Hypertension CH 8
Electrophysiology, ARDS and Respiratory Failure
Venous Thromboembolism 2022 VTE CPG
Heart and Lung Transplant, VADs and Total Heart CH 14, HF CPG
Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation CH 21
Pulmonary and the Pelvic Floor
CVP Outcome Measures CH 23
Research, Ethics, Teaching and Learning


Activity Date/Time Topic
Introduction  Week 1 Introduction to instructor and study group, course overview, expectations of course, and how to study
Case Study 1 Week 2 Coronary Artery Disease and Acute Myocardial Infarction
Case Study 2 Week 3 Coronary Artery Bypass Graft and Valve Replacement
Case Study 3 Week 4 Atrial Fibrillation
Case Study 4  Week 5 Heart Failure
Case Study 5 Week 6 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Case Study 6 Week 7 Pulmonary Fibrosis and Lung Transplant
Case study 7 Week 8 Lung Cancer
Case Study 8 Week 9 Asthma
Case Study 9 Week 10 Cystic Fibrosis
Case Study 10 Week 11 Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Disease
Case Study 11 Week 12 Renal Failure and Liver Failure
Case Study 12 Week 13 Cardiogenic Shock and Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
Case Study 13 Week 14 COVID-19 
Case Study 14 Week 15 Long COVID and POTS
Case Study 15 Week 16 DVT and Post Thrombotic Syndrome
Case Study 16 Week 17 PE and Pulmonary Hypertension
Case Study 17 Week 18 Advanced HF, ECMO, and Heart Transplant
Case Study 18 Week 19 Congenital Heart Disease
Case Study 19 Week 20 Electrophysiology Cases (Cardioversion, Ablation, Pacemaker, and ICD)
Case Study 20 Week 21 ARDS, Respiratory Failure, and Ventilators
Practice Examinations Week 22 Individual mentoring sessions to discuss test results, 1.5-hours per exam (dates/times TBD)