Hufnagel Tri-Leaflet Aortic Heart Valve

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Description (Brief)
This trileaflet valve which looks similar to a natural human heart valve was developed by Charles Hufnagel, MD. It is coated in hepacone, silicone rubber impregnated with heparin, and is a size 5 with a diameter of 33mm. Hufnagel believed the trileaflet design would prove to be superior to the ball and cage heart valve because it provided better dynamics. The base of the valve was designed to fit the shape of the aorta when implanted. The leaflets or cusps were made of polypropylene and coated with silicone rubber at high pressure. A 1975 study of patients who had received this prostheses determined that the Hufnagel trileaflet valve was not durable enough to withstand constant blood flow. In a majority of cases, patients died due to prosthetic degeneration or thrombosis. Other problems included aortic regurgitation and stenosis. The Hufnagel tri-leaflet valve was distributed by Codman and Shurtleff, Inc. of Randolph, Massachusetts and manufactured by Heyer-Schulte Corporation.
Currently not on view
date made
after 1967
Codman and Shurtleff Incorporated
Physical Description
plastic (container material)
polypropylene mesh (valve material)
silicone rubber (valve material)
container: 3.2 cm x 5.4 cm x 5.4 cm; 1 1/4 in x 2 1/8 in x 2 1/8 in
valve: 2 cm x 3 cm; 25/32 in x 1 3/16 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


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