Anatomy takes a trip to the hospital

February is National Heart Month and instead of just learning about the heart, the human anatomy classes took a trip to the Fairfax Hospital to observe an open heart surgery.

Human Anatomy Teacher Eric Misencik took four classes to the hospital on various days throughout the week of Valentine’s Day, one of the surgeries even falling on the day of love.

“The students begin in a little conference room where the Registered Nurse shares with us the information about the patient and a brief overview of what we are about to see.  This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes,” Eric Misencik said.  “Most people don’t realize but heart related issues are the number one killers in the United States.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart related conditions kill around 630,000 Americans every year and the number isn’t predicted to decrease.  However, the ages of these Americans are.  The American Heart Association has seen an increased number of people ages 20-30 in need of heart surgeries due to too the excess sugar, and saturated fat, in their diets.

“It was pretty scary to see the amount of saturated fats in such common foods that we eat every day,” senior Morgan Meyer said.  “After my trip I had to relook at my food intake and reevaluate the food I eat. I don’t want to be on that table when I get older.”

The class who went on Valentine’s Day saw a MAZE surgery where the surgeons cut into the top right of the heart (right atrium) and burned a path down the septum and back around the purkinje fibers so the electrical impulses travel through only this path and not throughout the entire heart.

“The surgery seemed so complex and all the doctors looked so focused,” senior Dora Maxwell said.  “I would never be able to withstand the pressure of having someone’s life in my hands like that.”