Incidence of cardiovascular disease in the dissecting room: a valuable teaching asset.


The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of cardiovascular pathology in 50 cadavers in the dissecting room of the Department of Anatomy at Guy's Campus, King's College, London, and to demonstrate the importance of dissection in teaching the anatomy of normal and pathological hearts. After external evaluation of each heart the four chambers were dissected and studied. The features noted included evidence of coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, variations in coronary artery anatomy, valvular disease, variations in left ventricular wall thickness and atrial dimensions, and atrial anomalies. All the hearts studied had at least one pathology. The majority had severe coronary atherosclerosis (44) and aortic valve pathology (23). A large number had left ventricular hypertrophy (13) and left atrial enlargement (9). A small number showed evidence of myocardial infarction (4). Anatomical anomalies were also found, and included persistent foramen ovale (1), three coronary arterial ostia (3), and anatomical variations of the orientation of the main stem of the left coronary artery (2). This study demonstrates that dissection is not only an excellent way of studying normal cardiac anatomy, but also a valuable method for introducing common cardiac pathologies to the medical student.

Cite this paper

@article{Chun2007IncidenceOC, title={Incidence of cardiovascular disease in the dissecting room: a valuable teaching asset.}, author={Jeanette Chun and Thomas Theologou and Harold Ellis}, journal={Clinical anatomy}, year={2007}, volume={20 1}, pages={89-92} }