Cooley-Bloodwell-Cutter Prosthetic Mitral Valve

Description (Brief)
This is an open-cage, non-tilting disc valve with four metal struts, designed by Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. Robert Bloodwell. It has a low-profile design to prevent protrusion of the cage into the ventricle, which might lead to arrhythmia. The suture is made of Dacron cloth impregnated with silicon to prevent postoperative thromboembolism. The bare cage legs are made of titanium and the disc is made of silicone rubber. This valve was used from April 1967 until it was discontinued October 1968. Hospital mortality with this valve was 13% for 160 patients. The cumulative morality rate was 31%. Thromboembolic complications occurred in 51 patients (32%). Other issues included leakage, cerebral embolism, respiratory insufficiency, and sepsis. These figures contributed to a change in valve design to reduce emboli.
Cutter Laboratories was a family-owned pharmaceutical company founded by Edward Ahern Cutter in 1897. It was located in Berkeley, California.
Denton Cooley (1920-) has been involved with heart surgery since its beginnings in the 1940s and 1950s. He interned for 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 operation a breakthrough, referring to this period as "the dawn of heart surgery." After receiving his medical degree in 1944 from Johns Hopkins University he moved back to Texas to start his career at Baylor College in Houston. Dr. Robert Bloodwell (1932-2013) attended Baylor School of Medicine and was trained at Johns Hopkins University. In 1968 Cooley and Bloodwell assisted one another in carrying out the first heart transplant in Houston, Texas.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
Cutter Laboratories, Inc.
Physical Description
silicone rubber (valve material)
plastic (container material)
paper (insert material)
dacron (valve material)
siliconized dacron (valve material)
titanium (valve 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: 2 cm x 4 cm; 25/32 in x 1 9/16 in
place made
United States: California, Berkeley
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
Health & Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Manuel Villafaña
Additional Media

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