Sheep Heart Surgery and Dissection

Josh and Dylan, Phase I Scholars

On the second day of Summer Study, we attended a class called Get to the Heart of It where we dissected and performed surgery on sheep hearts. We demonstrated the two most common heart surgeries performed today. The first was a heart bypass surgery, in which the blood flow is re-routed using a tube to act as an artery or vein. The second surgery was a modified version of a heart valve replacement. To do this, we used a piece of chalk and placed it in the heart to act as a valve.

After the two surgeries we fully dissected the sheep heart by slicing it in half and looking at the inside. We saw where the different arteries were located, and where they lead to in a sheep's body. One thing is definite: surgery of a sheep's heart is best done as a team effort, as it can be hard to work on a heart if you're a one-man (or woman) show. Being with a partner assures that everyone can participate, regardless of ability. The class was quite interesting, even if at first it seemed a little disturbing!