Cooley-Cutter Disc Valve

<< >>
Description (Brief)
The Cooley-Cutter heart valve was designed in the 1960s by Denton A. Cooley, MD, in collaboration with Cutter Laboratories and introduced for clinical use in 1971. It was an improvement of the 1967/68 Cooley-Bloodwell-Cutter valve, which had many serious issues. This is a demonstration only, Cooley-Cutter non-tilting Disc Valve made by Cutter Laboratories. Included on the label is, "U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. UNSTERILE - MAY BE AUTOCLAVED." It is comprised of a pyrolytic carbon non-tilting disc with titanium struts and a cloth suture. Non-tilting disc valves were advantageous with regards to limiting regurgitation. They had a low profile design and were easier to implant. Issues with this valve included thromboembolic complications, higher rates of hemolysis, strut wear (due to the hard pyrolytic and soft titanium) and significant turbulence in blood flow. In 1977, there were two reported cases of strut fracture--a failure that can be attributed to the "differential hardness" in the materials being used. This resulted in its being discontinued by 1978. The majority of the Cooley-Cutter valves were implanted at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.
Dr. Denton Cooley (1920-) has been involved with heart surgery since its beginnings in the 1940s and 1950s. As an intern he worked with Dr. Alfred Blalock (1899-1964) and Dr. Helen Taussig (1898-1986), the first doctors to correct malformations of the heart by reconstructing the valves (Blalock-Taussig Operation.) Dr. Cooley considered this breakthrough, "the dawn of heart surgery." He received his training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1944, and started a practice at Baylor College in Houston, TX.
Currently not on view
date made
Cutter Laboratories, Inc.
place made
United States: California, Berkeley
Physical Description
plastic (container material)
pyrolytic carbon (valve material)
dacron (valve material)
paper (insert material)
titanium (valve material)
teflon (sewing ring material)
container: 2.3 cm x 5.3 cm x 5.3 cm; 29/32 in x 2 3/32 in x 2 3/32 in
valve: 1.3 cm x 3.3 cm; 1/2 in x 1 5/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
Credit Line
Gift of Manuel Villafaña
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object