The chemicals between us-First results of the cluster analyses on anatomy embalming procedures in the German-speaking countries

Alexander Michael Kerner, Uta Biedermann, Lars Bräuer, Svenja Caspers, Sara Doll, Maren Engelhardt, Timm J Filler, Estifanos Ghebremedhin, Stefanie Gundlach, Gregor U Hayn-Leichsenring, Stephan Heermann, Ingrid Hettwer-Steeger, Laura Hiepe, Bernhard Hirt, Lena Hirtler, Romed Hörmann, Christoph Kulisch, Tobias Lange, Rudolf Leube, Annika Hela MeuserMagdalena Müller-Gerbl, Christina Nassenstein, Peter H Neckel, Ute Nimtschke, Friedrich Paulsen, Andreas Prescher, Michael Pretterklieber, Stefanie Schliwa, Katja Schmidt, Andreas Schmiedl, Christof Schomerus, Gundula Schulze-Tanzil, Udo Schumacher, Sven Schumann, Volker Spindler, Johannes Streicher, Thomas Tschernig, Axel Unverzagt, Ursula Valentiner, Christoph Viebahn, Thilo Wedel, Janet Weigner, Wolfgang W Weninger, Jürgen Westermann, Imke Weyers, Jens Waschke, Niels Hammer

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

Abstract

Hands-on courses utilizing preserved human tissues for educational training offer an important pathway to acquire basic anatomical knowledge. Owing to the reevaluation of formaldehyde limits by the European Commission, a joint approach was chosen by the German-speaking anatomies in Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) to find commonalities among embalming protocols and infrastructure. A survey comprising 537 items was circulated to all anatomies in German-speaking Europe. Clusters were established for "ethanol"-, formaldehyde-based ("FA"), and "other" embalming procedures, depending on the chemicals considered the most relevant for each protocol. The logistical framework, volumes of chemicals, and infrastructure were found to be highly diverse between the groups and protocols. Formaldehyde quantities deployed per annum were three-fold higher in the "FA" (223 L/a) compared to the "ethanol" (71.0 L/a) group, but not for "other" (97.8 L/a), though the volumes injected per body were similar. "FA" was strongly related to table-borne air ventilation and total fixative volumes ≤1000 L. "Ethanol" was strongly related to total fixative volumes >1000 L, ceiling- and floor-borne air ventilation, and explosion-proof facilities. Air ventilation was found to be installed symmetrically in the mortuary and dissection facilities. Certain predictors exist for the interplay between the embalming used in a given infrastructure and technical measures. The here-established cluster analysis may serve as decision supportive tool when considering altering embalming protocols or establishing joint protocols between institutions, following a best practice approach to cater toward best-suited tissue characteristics for educational purposes, while simultaneously addressing future demands on exposure limits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-829
Number of pages16
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Volume16
Issue number5
Early online date15 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2023

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