We have also received some of the specimens in our heart library
from the University of Minnesota Medical School's Anatomy Bequest
Program. Bequest is a program in which
donors give their whole body to medical education and research. We
have received both fresh (un-fixed) and fixed heart specimens from the
More specifically, we perform fresh cadaver studies to better
analyze the relative orientations of an individual's heart relative
to other thoracic anatomy.
Furthermore, we can investigate the deployment of cardiac medical devices
that require femoral access (access through a vein or artery in the leg).
After each of these studies, we isolate and perfusion fix these
hearts to be preserved as additional anatomical specimens in our heart library.
Finally a large number of specimens in our heart library are
obtained via cadavers from the University of Minnesota's
Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology Course. Every
January for the past decade, the University offers a one-week long
intensive cardiac course in which the students learn human cardiac
anatomy through a cadaver lab. After the course is completed, the
hearts are isolated and stored in our library. A large number of
these cadaveric hearts have unique anatomies and/or cardiac
devices within. The fixation process used to fix the cadavers is
different than the perfusion fixation process we employ with
hearts obtained fresh. Using the arterial system, the blood is
removed from the body and replaced with an anatomical embalming
solution. Eight to ten gallons is generally injected, which adds
around 80 lbs of weight to the body.