How the Dissection Laboratory Facilitates Integration of Learning: Presence of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm with a Large Intracardiac Thrombus: A Rare Cadaver Finding
There is a debate among medical education experts on the application of dissection or prosection for learning anatomy. However, the literature reveals that the majority of published articles are in favor of dissection. In this article, we present a case of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) with intracardiac thrombus in a cadaver on routine dissection. We will discuss possible explanations for such finding and provide some insight into how this finding can support the significance of the cadaver-based teaching of anatomy of the medical students. Initially, the abdomen was dissected and exposed to study the abdominal structures in an anatomy class and later the thoracic region was dissected and all the clinical abnormalities were examined and documented. Autopsy of the clot was obtained for histopathology analysis. The intracardiac thrombus was present in the right atrium characterized by its projection into the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and the right ventricle. The AAA was extensive and inferior to the renal arteries constricting the entire inferior vena cava. Moreover, associated findings included presence of numerous collaterals in the thoracic region near the superior vena cava; histological examination of the clot showed extensive population of leukocytes. There were enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes. Our cadaver showed an excellent model for integrating between clinical anatomy and pathology by triggering medical students to think of normal and abnormal structures: often called “thinking outside the box.” Such an effort might help them in developing their thought processes and future medical careers.