Hufnagel Plastic Intracardiac Valve

Description (Brief)
This is a prototype of an artificial heart valve invented by pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Charles Hufnagel (1916-1989). Instead of an interior ball to help the blood flow in one direction, this valve has a tri-leaflet insertion. In 1952 Hufnagel and his team at Georgetown University invented and implanted the first successful artificial heart valve in a human. Hufnagel experimented with various materials but settled on polymethylmethacrylate, a hard, clear plastic more popularly known by the trade name of Plexiglas or Lucite.
The museum's collection of Hufnagel valves shows some of the early designs tested when first trying to produce a workable artificial heart valve.
Currently not on view
Object Name
heart valve, prosthetic
artificial heart valve
date made
Hufnagel, Charles A.
Physical Description
plexiglas (overall material)
overall: 2 1/4 in x 1 1/2 in; 5.715 cm x 3.81 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Artificial Heart Valves
Health & Medicine
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Charles A. Hufnagel, M.D.
Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. Journal of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, Vol 11
Additional Media

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