The heart is the organ responsible for circulating blood throughout the body and ensures all tissues receive adequate nutrients to sustain their normal function. In this lab, we show and demonstrate how a normally-functioning heart works in the body in terms of the large, anatomic structures as well as the physiology of the electrical phenomena that makes this function possible: the action potential. The students will be shown an electrocardiogram (ECG) to correlate how this information is achieved in a clinical setting. We also demonstrate cardiac auscultation including interpretation of heart sounds and how they correlate to pathology. Students will have the opportunity to use stethoscopes during this demo. Finally, we demonstrate the gross anatomical changes which can take place in various pathological conditions such as hypertension and myocardial infarction.
The lungs are essential for the efficient gas exchange between the body and the environment which results in the absorption of oxygen and excretion of carbon dioxide from the blood. In this demonstration, we follow the blood as it circulates from one chamber of the heart, to the lung, and back into a separate chamber of the heart. This concept is usually best conveyed after or concurrently with the heart demonstration. We discuss the gross and microscopic structures of the lung which allow oxygen exchange. We then move on to describe lung auscultation along with radiology to correlate clinical findings with disease processes. The students will have the opportunity to use stethoscopes and look at x-ray and CT images of the lung. Finally, we discuss the pathologic changes which take place in the lung tissue during various disease processes such as emphysema and pneumonia.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract runs from the mouth to the anus and includes several organs thatfacilitate the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the blood. For this lab, we track the system from the mouth, where food digestion begins, to the very last stage where wastes are excreted from the body. We utilize real specimens to describe the major physiological functions of each organ along the GI tract and the specific anatomical features which allow them to perform their tasks. Our specimens include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver and gallbladder, and pancreas. We also describe several common clinical scenarios relevant to the GI system such as peptic ulcers and pancreatic cancer.