Free Floating Disc Artificial Heart Valve

Description (Brief)
This free floating artificial heart valve was the second type of prosthetic designed by pionerring hear surgeon Dr. Charles Hufnagel (1916-1989), and his team at Georgetown University. It was made of polypropylene while the disk initially received a coating of silicone rubber to ensure it did not make a loud noise. The valve could be implanted in the aortic, mitral, and tricuspid valves. First clinically used in 1963, many of these early valves were still in use ten years later.
Hufnagel, invented and implanted the first successful artificial heart valve at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He experimented with various materials, but eventually settled on polymethylmethacrylate, 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
ca 1961
Hufnagel, Charles A.
Physical Description
polypropylene (overall material)
silicone (overall material)
overall: 7.1 cm x 4.4 cm x 4.4 cm; 2 13/16 in x 1 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in
overall: 5/8 in x 1 5/8 in; 1.5875 cm x 4.1275 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

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