→ Abnormal Pressure Systems - Physical Science & Embalming
Much like a UFO, specific cases yield many questions unanswered for embalmers. Furthermore, what we are able to detect with our eyes often still limits us from gathering all the details we need to do the best job. It was once said that an embalmer’s greatest disappointment or regret is never having the ability to get the same person twice. Hopefully as we grow together, we are able to keep good enough records and data to still advance and improve our capabilities.
While performing case analysis, it is essential that the embalmer is attentive to potential fluid or air obstruction which will prevent fluid traveling throughout the vascular system. Air obstructions might be regarded as the highest priority for the embalmer’s attention. Permitting the complete escape of air is the optimal result, however, we often can fall short of this expectation. Persistent channeling to release air may be necessary as the embalming process progresses. Often, a trocar is used to permit the escape of gas; however, this can often lead to just an intermittent release of gas. Following up the initial escape of gas with forceps or scissors can make an easier path for gas to travel through, despite what other obstructions may be present.
If air remains within the path of travel, fluid by nature has a very difficult time overcoming this obstruction. As fluid travels upstream against gravity without any air present, its ability to travel well is significantly impacted. When air is present in the vessel between fluid, a circumstance known as vapor lock occurs. This is great cause for concern, as truly there is no way to overcome this distribution issue without force, otherwise known as pressure. To even better understand this, know that air has the ability to compress, making it more and more challenging for a fluid to try to overcome it. We have already explained the negatives of a high internal pressure of the arterial system, so now we have the present problem of how we overcome vapor lock without also sacrificing the appearance of the deceased. We will cover the methodology that has been proven to overcome the embalmer’s nightmare, but you will have to keep reading. For now just remember, if its air, it stinks, so do what you can and let it loose!
-The Mortuary Scientist