The use of anatomical landmarks in the neck to locate the common carotid artery for use in embalming

McFadyen, L. and Rea, P. (2017) The use of anatomical landmarks in the neck to locate the common carotid artery for use in embalming. Embalmer, 60(3), pp. 19-22.

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Abstract

The professional embalmer typically uses the common carotid artery for administering embalming fluid after death. There are detailed descriptions of the anatomy of this vessel in anatomical and surgical texts, but not aimed at guidance within the funeral industry, or those embalming bodies outwith medical and anatomical training centres. Through cadaveric dissection, we aimed to identify if any anatomical landmarks could be used in the quick and easy identification of the location of the common carotid artery, prior to any skin incisions being made. We used six common carotid arteries, and examined five sets of palpable landmarks easily identified prior to incisions, measuring distances between them. The distances between anatomical landmarks were: 1) Bifurcation of CCA directly inferior to clavicle; 2) Laryngeal prominence to common carotid artery; 3) Common carotid artery to sternoclavicluar joint; 4) Width of larynx at laryngeal prominence; 5) Width of larynx at laryngeal prominence and 6) Lateral border of thyroid cartilage to CCA. Of the six arteries examined in this small-scale study, it was found that the anatomical landmarks that could potentially be used to locate the common carotid artery was the lateral border of the thyroid cartilage, at the level of the laryngeal prominence. The artery was typically just over 1cm away from that anatomical landmark. In addition, the common carotid artery was also close to the sternoclavicluar joint, and could be found, on average, 2cm away from that site. These anatomical sites could be used to guide the embalmer as to the location of the common carotid artery, at its most inferior point at the clavicle, to its most superior point before bifurcation. This will aid the embalmer with further detail in easily identify the common carotid artery even before the first incision is made.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rea, Dr Paul
Authors: McFadyen, L., and Rea, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Embalmer
Publisher:The British Institute of Embalmers

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