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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Heart Tap

Today I did my first solo heart tap. A heart tap is a procedure for draining the blood during the embalming process. The usual method used by most embalmers is to raise a vein and drain through that. Our firm prefers the heart tap since it is faster, easier (usually) and definitely not as messy.

The way it is done is after the injection of the embalming fluid has begun, monitor the body for signs of good fluid distribution, and keep an eye out for any swelling that may occur. After the body has received a decent supply of fluid (about a gallon or so), insert the trocar into the abdomen, puncture the diaphragm and insert the trocar into the right ventricle of the heart. This is the chamber that receives blood returning from the veins. Since you are basically doing all of this by "feel" since you can't see into the thorax, it takes a bit of knowledge and skill to do it successfully. If done improperly, it will ruin the circulation of the embalming fluid and you will have to raise multiple vessels to complete the embalming process. This is why most embalmers prefer the more cumbersome, but less risky method of veinous drainage.

When I have done heart taps in the past, it has always been with someone's hands guiding my movements, and basically doing about 75% of the work for me. Today I asked to do it unassisted. After we injected about a gallon and a half of fluid, I made the tap and it was perfect.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. I've been told about the heart tap but no one at my funeral home uses it so I can't actually do it....with fear of a multi point.

It must have felt great to do that yourself!!!

10:09 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

If the body has a decent amount of fluid with good distribution to the face and arms/hands, a six point injection may not be necessary if you miss. Sometimes we've missed and just injected the legs, for example; a 3 point injection.

5:43 PM  

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