European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 24 - Number 6
Eur J Anat, 24 (6): 475-483 (2020)

The altered profile of a donated cadaver population: challenges for teaching and research?

Desiré M. Brits, Brendon K. Billings, Beverley Kramer, Erin F. Hutchinson

School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

ABSTRACT Efforts by anatomists over the recent past, have converted the cadaver population in a South Afri-can institution from a predominantly unclaimed population into one purely derived from donors. Concurrent with this transformation were noticea-ble changes in cadaver demographics, which raised concerns for aspects of teaching and re-search. The aim of this study was therefore to ex-plore the effects of donation on the demographics and anatomical integrity of the School‚??s 2017 ca-daver population. The provenance, ancestry, sex and age of 74 cadavers were investigated. Dis-sected cadavers were studied to ascertain the general condition of their anatomy. Variations in tissue integrity, morphology and overt pathologies were surveyed. Cadavers represented only one population group with slightly more females (54%). The majority of the cohort (62%) was aged be-tween 71 and 90 years. With regards to anatomical integrity, 60% of the cadavers presented with ad-hering fascia, but no significant differences in the quantity of fat were found across the sample. High levels of muscle tearing and atrophy (76%) oc-curred and variations in visceral anatomy were noted. Various surgical interventions and overt pathologies were also observed. The donated ca-daver population differed from previous unclaimed cadaver populations in that they consisted of only White, older individuals. Variations, surgical inter-ventions and pathologies offer staff in anatomy an opportunity to engage with more clinically-oriented teaching, as well as introducing students to the discipline of gerontology.

Keywords: Donor cadaver demographics ‚?? Integrity of morphology ‚?? Research ‚?? Teaching

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)