February 11, 2011

A lesson from the heart

plastinated heart

Heart-shaped chocolates, cushions and all manner of lovey-dovey gifts are adorning the shelves in readiness for Valentine’s Day. But for some would-be doctors at Warwick Medical School, they are about to get their hands on the real thing – a human heart.

The students get to see a real human heart which has been ‘plastinated’ or expertly treated to preserve every tiny vein and valve to become a valuable teaching resource as part of their clinical anatomy training.

Peter Abrahams, Professor of Clinical Anatomy, explained: “This plastinated heart is the next best thing to examining a living organ. Students can handle and study it to understand how the valves and muscles work and is a tremendous aid for their learning.”

The heart is one of a number of specimens the Medical School has. Others include a complete arm from shoulder to hand and a thorax including lungs and rib cage.

“The lecture room is always full when it’s time to study the plastinated specimens,” he added.

Take a look at one of Professor Abrahams' videos


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