Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

What is the real cardiac anatomy?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Bob Anderson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2019 The Authors. Clinical Anatomy published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Clinical Anatomists. The heart is a remarkably complex organ. Teaching its details to medical students and clinical trainees can be very difficult. Despite the complexity, accurate recognition of these details is a pre-requisite for the subsequent understanding of clinical cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. A recent publication promoted the benefits of virtual reconstructions in facilitating the initial understanding achieved by medical students. If such teaching is to achieve its greatest value, the datasets used to provide the virtual images should themselves be anatomically accurate. They should also take note of a basic rule of human anatomy, namely that components of all organs should be described as they are normally situated within the body. It is almost universal at present for textbooks of anatomy to illustrate the heart as if removed from the body and positioned on its apex, the so-called Valentine situation. In the years prior to the emergence of interventional techniques to treat cardiac diseases, this approach was of limited significance. Nowadays, therapeutic interventions are commonplace worldwide. Advances in three-dimensional imaging technology, furthermore, now mean that the separate components of the heart can readily be segmented, and then shown in attitudinally appropriate fashion. In this review, we demonstrate how such virtual dissection of computed tomographic datasets in attitudinally appropriate fashion reveals the true details of cardiac anatomy. The virtual approach to teaching the arrangement of the cardiac components has much to commend it. If it is to be used, nonetheless, the anatomical details on which the reconstructions are based must be accurate. Clin. Anat., 2019. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mori S, Tretter JT, Spicer DE, Bolender DL, Anderson RH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Anatomy

Year: 2019

Volume: 32

Issue: 3

Pages: 288-309

Print publication date: 11/03/2019

Online publication date: 24/01/2019

Acceptance date: 21/01/2019

ISSN (print): 0897-3806

ISSN (electronic): 1098-2353

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/ca.23340