1. Remove the heart from the pericardial cavity and examine its features.
Dissection of the heart. Before removing the heart, first identify where the great vessels penetrate the pericardial sac. Insert your fingers into the transverse sinus from the left side. Watching your fingers, carefully cut the pulmonary trunk and aorta where they penetrate the pericardium. Next, pull the heart to the left and sever the superior vena cava where it penetrates the pericardium. Then, identify the inferior vena cava and sever it where it emerges from the diaphragm. Retract the heart to the left and sever the right pulmonary veins where they penetrate the pericardial sac. Lastly, elevate the apex of the heart and sever first the inferior left pulmonary vein, then the superior pulmonary vein. This should free the heart from the pericardial sac. Once the heart is removed, identify where the great vessels penetrate the pericardial sac: the aorta, the pulmonary trunk, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, the right and left pulmonary veins. Returning to the heart, identify the apex, aorta, pulmonary trunk, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, the right atrium outlined here, the left atrium outlined, the flat diaphragmatic surface, inferior vena cava again, the left auricle, right auricle, and anterior interventricular sulcus.
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