A chilling BBC documentary showing the post mortem of an obese woman has revealed the full effects of obesity on the human body. The American woman weighed 107kg (236 lbs) despite being just 165 cm (5ft, 5") tall and doctors said even cutting through the skin was difficult due to the layers of fat.
The body used in the documentary is that of a woman from Long Beach, California in her early 60s who died of heart failure and donated her body to medical science.
'I needed a lot more strength to cut through the tissue which kind of bloomed out in neon yellow,' said the pathologist who cut open the woman's skin.
After having her left arm removed for cremation and ashes returned to her family the woman's remains were sent to medical staff for analysis.
Obesity - The Post Mortem, set to air on BBC Three on September 13, depicts the stomach churning scenes of pathologists slicing open the woman and examining her skin, heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
The heart bared all the hallmarks of an obese person. Doctors said the heart felt baggy and was a lot heavier than it should have been.
Pathologist Giles Yeo noted that although some fat is healthy for the body, when the 'extra fat looks for somewhere else to go, that is where the damage is caused.'
Another Pathologist who was present in the autopsy, Dr Mike Osborn says: 'The heart feels baggy, when you pick up the heart of someone fit, it would be tight and hard like picking up a piece of steak, this is like more like a bag.'
'At 449 grams, it's a heavy heart, despite her weight this woman is quite a petite person and should have a heart of 225 grams so this is much heavier. 'This heart has gone from a thick muscle to a paper bag that is not able to pump blood around the body,' he added.
The heavy heart is weighed. The woman died from heart failure which was undoubtedly linked to her weight.
The woman's liver also showed the signs of obesity, being not as soft as it would be in a healthy person. The most common cause is alcohol related but considering the lady drank virtually nothing, it's almost certainly obesity.
After inspecting the woman's lungs the BBC pathologists said they were dripping with fluid which is a sign of pulmonary edema caused by heart failure.
'This would have given a sensation of drowning,' Dr. Osborn said during the documentary.
Doctors examine the kidneys. 'If you are obese, some fat will end up in your kidneys and they will have to work harder' one of the doctors said.
During the haunting autopsy that was the first in the UK post mortem, Carla Valentine focused specifically on looking at the effects of obesity on the body.
'People with this condition tend to need support; for example, if someone tells you they have to sleep sitting up or with eight pillows, that is very indicative of heart failure.' Dr. Osborn continued.
'Heart failure is different than a heart attack, when it fails, it doesn't fail straight away, it fails over time so symptoms are gradual.'
A pathologist with the kidneys in their hands. Having fatty kidneys can cause the organ to fail and lead to diabetes.
A BBC spokeswoman said that the deceased woman 'consented for her body to be donated to medical science.'
'The only information we have about the women is that she was American, in her 60s, and she died of heart disease,' she added.
Another BBC statement said that the woman knew her body may be used 'for research, and educational use, including being filmed anonymously for scientific presentation.'