Study Break — Pig Heart Dissection :)

So a few weeks ago my physiology professor recommended that we get to know the anatomy of the heart a little more in depth, in preparation for our midterm. Well too bad I ended up doing this after the midterm, which by the way really sucked, slightly on the unfair side of you ask me but I’m slightly biased. But alas, I wanted to do this little experiment anyways…

Step 1 was find a butcher shop that would sell me a pigs heart. Luckily I found one pretty close, and even luckier, pig hearts are pretty cheap (Mine ran $2.79). Although, both of these awesome facts were eclipsed by the fact that the guy working at the butcher shop will make throw out my week-old pact not to eat red meat anymore, as I shall definitely be returning to buy some high price, free-range beef, and to more importantly try to see his beautiful face again ( ;

Anyways, heart in hand, Step 2 was enlist a surgical assistant. Despite my initial fears that my weak-blooded roommates would throw me out of the house at the mere thought of my medical experiment, Lucia was actually stoked to help me out.

So we prepped the work space, aka. layed down pages of an old Vogue all over our Pike beer pong table (we’re not normally this sketch, but we recently lost our beloved dining room table and have a gap in the room fit to hold dance class ha)

Next was surgical equipment. again, aka. scalpel (hunting knife), kitchen scissors, latex gloves from my chem lab ha, and Fiona’s ridiculous mushroom apron from Anthropologie. Needless to say we’re pretty professional. After that we paused to marvel how cool it was we had a heart!

We found a decent guide online and then got to work. But we quickly realized that 1) the guide wasn’t that great. 2) The butcher had cut part of the top of the heart off so I was really confused. 3) We’re not professionals. So with all due respect to the pig, we kind of just cut down from what we thought was the left atria, to the left/right ventricle.

It was honestly fantastic. I mean look at all those muscle fibers. The strength and importance of this little organ is intriguing. Half-way through I also realized this was way better than a school-sponsored dissection because the heart hadn’t been preserved in formaldehyde or any chemicals for that matter, it still gushed blood when I cut through vessels.

After working through the chambers I finally found one of the semilunar valves which I was pretty stoked on given that I was still trying to figure out which side was ventral. We finished the dissection by removing the base part of the aorta (pictured below).

Lucia was kind of over it at this point, maybe it was the smell of pig heart, or the fact that I couldn’t shut up about the differenced between smooth and cardiac muscle. Either way, she came in clutch where I needed her most. I figured what better way to end a good dissection than to try a bit of your generous host. Yep, we roasted that heart right up. With a little garlic and thyme of course (:

Successful day. Definitely a reaffirmation that I will be cutting up organs for a good many years to come ( :

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