Anatomical Heart Borders and Formaldehyde

Here at (insert university that I attend) there is no such thing as “waiting for students to settle in”. We had twelve hours of dissection in the last week in the course of three days (each day with four hours of dissection) . I now wear the scent of formaldehyde like a perfume. The smell somehow seeps into every pore and crevice it can find. My books which are always inside my tightly-shut bag are habitually drenched in its powerful odorous vapour.

Hi I’m Lily and today I am wearing the scent formaldehyde courtesy of the anatomy dissection hall. It’s a long-lasting scent that will induce hunger, intense watering of the eyes and a tingling sensation  in your nose as it burns. Buy now at your nearest medical campus. While stocks last. 

My entire family’s reaction when I come back home after dissection 😛

Anatomy is without a doubt, my favourite part of studying the cardiovascular system. Dissection is simultaneously daunting and thrilling because you have the recurrent fear of “what if I cut through an important structure ” but once you dissect you cannot help but feel a surge of awesomeness . I’m quite scalpel-happy and I love to dissect.

The heart is simply mesmerising! I am continuously having to fight the impulse to squeal excitedly ( internally, obviously, but sometimes outwardly) every time we dissect a cool structure. I have, however,  not been as successful as I would like to in containing my excitement.

Aortic valve 

excited gif
OMG ! Look at the cusps ! It has three cusps OMG ! This is so cool !OMG !


Chordae tendinae

excited kelly
Whoa ! They look like actual chords ! This is so amazing ! Oh my goodness !


Trabeculae Carnae

giphy (14)
Awesome ! This looks amazing! It really looks like a lion’s paw grazed the inside ! [ Feels trabeculae carnea] Guys, you have got to feel this please ! It feels so amazing ! Oh my word!

My dissection group made a curiously interesting discovery. Our cadaver had a peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia ! This happens when there is a hole or defect in the abdomen that allows the abdominal contents to move into the chest cavity.

We were in search of the oesophagus when we instead discovered a cavity with green mushy contents directly above it. Having consulted with other groups in the vicinity and finding out that green cavities with green mushy contents were in fact not part of the normal anatomy of any human , we sought the council of our learned anatomy lecturer ( a very lovely lady).

Anatomy lecturer: Do you know what this is ?

Me and rest of my group:

Uhm, no . That’s actually part of the reason why we  requested your  presence . . . so you could tell us what that green mushy stuff is.

Anatomy lecturer: [Clears away pericardium on diaphragm and exposes a weird looking structure connected to the cavity] This is the stomach. Can you tell me what this is now?

Random guy from a random group (originating from a random corner in the dissection hall) randomly walks by and feels the sudden urge to answer a question that was not at all intended to prove his intelligence: That’s a diaphragmatic hernia,  isn’t it?

Anatomy lecturer : Correct ! [gives my group and I scathing “how dare you be so incompetent “looks] This is a diaphragmatic hernia [points to the stomach] and the green mushy contents  is part of the stomach cavity filled with stomach contents so you are lucky you did not poke it.

Me and my group:

I am so glad that I was able to contain myself. My scalpel happiness might have resulted in me emptying gastric contents into our cadaver’s thorax.

This is the first “proper” pathology that we were able to find on our cadaver. His left lung has three lobes but apparently that is not of any pathological relevance. During the respiratory system module we found that he had a pleural effusion.  His heart was enlarged (cardiomegaly) and he also had a pericardial effusion. Other pathologies from other groups have been nectrotised lungs, deviated sternums and kyphoisis.

Dissection is such a advantageous part of studying anatomy and it baffles me to think that some medical schools do not make use of it. Textbooks and computer images are helpful aids but seeing the structures as you would in a cadaver with deviations from the normal is so much better. I retain more once I have studied my lecture notes and then identified structures on the cadaver during dissection.

Physiology has a certain appeal too but is quite possibly the most tedious thing to endure for hours on end (The graphs do not stop and your brain starts to hurt after a while).  Histology is  snooze-worthy. I am trying my hardest but resistance against falling asleep during Histology is futile. I will have to bring my bedding next time to make it a more comfortable sleep.

This GIF is an accurate representation of the cardiac cycle. Sourced from Tumblr 🙂


I am eternally in love with the cardiothoracic system ❤ Everything fits together so perfectly  and makes so much sense !

Google is the only disappointment in studying the heart. I cannot search for heart borders because the results I receive are completely unrelated to what I need to see.

Tip: Search for Anatomical heart borders instead.
Tip: Search for Anatomical Heart Borders instead. 

Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)

7 thoughts on “Anatomical Heart Borders and Formaldehyde

  1. Hahaha I enjoyed reading your entry because I could totally relate! May I ask, what’s your prescribed book for Gross Anatomy? Here in my school in the Philippines we use Netter’s Atlas instead of Gray’s Anatomy. 😀


    1. Hi ! Our prescribed Atlas is Netter and our textbook is Clinically Orientated Anatomy by Moore. Gray’s Anatomy is recommended. I also make use of an outline text by Robert J Leonard when I study 🙂


  2. It’s beautiful to see you swooning over anatomy. I love love love seeing people in love with what they study (yes I’m overdoing it because heart… love… you know).
    Keep it up, Lily 🙂
    And your GIF choices are prime!

    Liked by 1 person

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