Human Anatomy at Colby

Michaela Swiatek: Pig Heart Dissection

February 25th, 2013 · Comments Off on Michaela Swiatek: Pig Heart Dissection

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During our dissection of a pig’s heart in lab, our class learned a great deal while doing this hands-on activity.  Most students were able to dissect their own heart, and several students shared a heart.  The first incision we made was  along the right side of the heart.  The right ventricle we identified by squeezing the heart.  We were able to do this because  the myocardium on the right side is much less rigid than that of the left ventricle.  This incision allowed us to see the tricuspid valve and the right ventricular outflow tract which includes the pulmonary valve.

Our second incision was into the right ventricle, which had to be cut open from the apex of the heart towards the top.

The next incision was into the tricuspid valve, which allows blood to flow from the right atrium into the right ventricle when the heart is relaxed during diastole.  I learned that when the heart begins to contract the heart centers a phase called systole, and the atrium pushes blood into the ventricle.  Then, the ventricle begins to contract and blood pressure exceeds the pressure in the atrium, the tricuspid valve snaps shut.

I was surprised to learn that a pig’s heart is very similar to the human heart in anatomy, size and function.  In fact, its excellent availability in most areas of the world, along with the similarities to the human heart, make porcine heart tissue ideal for transplant into receipt’s body, in the same way that a human’s donated organ would be rejected.  To prevent this, porcine heart valves are treated with glutaraldehyde to reduce their immunogenicity.

•I already knew that the muscle of your muscle is called the myocardium.  Most of the myocardium is located in the ventricles which are roughly the size of your fist.  The porcine heart, like a human heart, has four chambers and four valves.  Blood flows through the pig heart in the same manner as through a human’s.  This picture show’s the pig heart from the front, with the portion on the right of the picture being the left side of the heart vice versa. The aorta is clearly visible at the top, with the atrium on either side, while the ventricles are in the bottom left.
•Last, when the heart is contracting during systole, the pulmonary valve is open because the blood pushes the cusps out of the way.  Furthermore, at the end of the systole, the ventricles begin to relax and intra-ventricular pressure drops.  When the ventricular pressure drops to below the pulmonary artery pressure, the pulmonary valve closes and prevent back-flow of blood into the ventricle.
•I was surprised to learn that a pig’s heart is very similar to the human heart in anatomy, size and function.  In fact, its excellent availability in most areas of the world, along with the similarities to the human heart, make porcine heart tissue ideal for transplant into body’s receipt body, in the same way that a human’s donated organ would be rejected.  To prevent this, porcine valves are treated with glutaraldehyde to reduce their immunogenicity.
•I already knew that the muscle of your heart is called the myocardium.  Most of the myocardium is locate in the ventricles which are roughly the size of your  fist.  The porcine heart, like a human heart, has four chambers and four valves.  Blood flows through the pig heart in the same manner as through a human’s.

Tags: Lab

Art and Anatomy Field Trip to Bowdoin College Art Museum

January 13th, 2013 · Comments Off on Art and Anatomy Field Trip to Bowdoin College Art Museum

This past Thursday our Human Anatomy and Physiology class was given an opportunity to experience and learn anatomy through the artwork of the Bowdoin College Art Museum.  The works of art that we examined presented various anatomical features of the human body.  Carefully analyzing each piece, it was incredibly intriguing to find that so many pieces of art created by various ancient artists, revealed and glorified various parts of the human body.

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Tags: Lab · Special Activities