Hufnagel Intracardiac Valve

This is an example of the first artificial heart valve developed by pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Charles Hufnagel. The interior ball was made of hollow methylmethacrylate. The ball made so much noise the wearer could be heard walking down the hall. Hufnagel later replaced the noisy ball with ones coated with silicone. They proved to be considerably quieter.
Hufnagel, invented the plastic implantable heart valve in 1947. The ridged valve was first implanted in a human in 1952 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Hufnagel experimented with various materials but settled on methylethacry, a hard, clear plastic more popularly known by the trade name of Plexiglas or Lucite.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
Hufnagel, Charles A.
Physical Description
plexiglas (overall material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 2 in x 2 in; 6.985 cm x 5.08 cm x 5.08 cm
overall: 6.7 cm x 4.8 cm x 4.8 cm; 2 5/8 in x 1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Medical Procedure- Surgery
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of 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

Visitor Comments

3/9/2016 6:50:02 PM
Bruce Kingston
I'm an 63 year old male. Have one put in summer of 1960. Thanks Dr.
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