Bjork-Shiley Heart Valve

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Bjork-Shiley artificial heart valves are disc valves with a low profile, high orifice-to-tissue ratios, low embolic rates, and good hemodynamics. The minor orifice would often clog up because of its small opening. These earlier models have a disc made with Delrin polymer, which was later found to be an unsuitable material as it absorbs water and would break down easily. The Delrin was replaced with the more durable pyrolyte. The flat disc valve, when made with pyrolyte, was very successful. There were close to 300,000 implants of Bjork-Shiley valves between 1969 and 1986.
Dr. Viking Bjork (1918-2009), chairman of the Department of Surgery at Karaolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, collaborated with Donald Shiley (1920-2010), a biomedical engineer in California, to develop this tilting disc valve. Shiley graduated from the University of Portland in 1951 and was involved in the design of the Starr-Edwards valve. He founded Shiley Laboratories, Inc., the company which manufactured this valve. Shiley Lab. was bought by Pfizer in 1979.
Currently not on view
date made
after 1969
Shiley Incorporated
place made
United States: California, Irvine
Physical Description
cloth (valve material)
delrin (valve material)
stellite (valve material)
stellite (valve material)
valve 1: .7 cm x 3.7 cm; 9/32 in x 1 15/32 in
valve 2: .6 cm x 2.7 cm; 1/4 in x 1 1/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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