Starr-Edwards Aortic Heart Valve Prosthesis

Description (Brief)
The Starr Edwards was the first artificial valve to use the caged ball design. This example, model number 2320, was used to replace diseased aortic valves. The valve is still sealed in its original plastic casing, and has never been opened. The struts and the sewing ring are covered with Polyproplylene over Teflon cloth. Because the style of the caged ball valve differed greatly from the form of a natural valve, Starr described it as, "a repugnant intracardiac appliance." The valve model was manufactured between 1967 and 1976. It was used extensively worldwide, and there are reports of this valve still functioning twenty-five years after implantation. However, one of its problems was wear and breakdown of the cloth covering, sometimes tearing and causing blood clots. It has the advantage of good hemodynamics and durability, but the disadvantage of having to take anti-coagulants/blood thinners to prevent clotting. This valve was occasionally noisy.
The Starr Edwards is valve was manufactured by American Edwards Laboratories, a company founded by Dr. Albert Starr, MD (1926- ) of Bellevue Hospital of Columbia University, and Lowell Edwards (1889-1982), a semi-retired engineer from the University of Oregon. The two collaborators began to develop their original Starr-Edwards valve in 1958.
Dr. Starr did his residency at Johns Hopkins, where the famed Blalock and Taussig pioneering operation to treat children born with the heart malformation tetralogy of Fallotoperation. While there, he also worked with Dr. Denton Cooley.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
American Edwards Laboratories
Physical Description
polypropylene (valve material)
stellite (valve material)
plastic (container material)
container: 6.2 cm; 2 7/16 in
place made
United States: California, Santa Ana
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
model number
serial number
Artificial Organs
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
Gift of Manuel Villafaña

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