DeBakey Surgitool Aortic Heart Valve

Description (Brief)
This is a closed cage, pyrolytic carbon ball valve designed by Dr. Michael DeBakey MD. The three bare titanium struts are coated in pyrolytic carbon. There is a plastic, polyethylene suture ring intended to prevent endothelial cover and avoid diastolic leakage. A major issue with this valve was strut wear. This is due to the hard pyrolytic carbon ball and soft titanium cage constantly hitting one another. It is also relatively noisy. The materials are thromboresistant and electronegative in blood. The perioperative mortality rate for 345 patients was 8.1%. and the five year survival rate was 81%. Dr. DeBakey gave this "original" aortic ball valve to the donor Manny Villafana in 2002.
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey (1908-2008) was chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and director of The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. He earned his degrees from Tulane University and Charity Hospital, and completed a fellowship in France. Harry Cromie was an engineer of Surgitool Incorporated. DeBakey had worked in the past with Dr. Denton Cooley, until a controversy developed between the two of them. Surgitool was founded by Harry Cromie and Dr. George Magovern (the two creators of the sutureless Magovern-Cromie Valve).
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
ca 1968
Surgitool, Inc.
Physical Description
pyrolytic carbon (overall material)
titanium (overall material)
plastic, polyethylene (overall material)
overall: 3 cm x 2.9 cm x 2.9 cm; 1 3/16 in x 1 5/32 in x 1 5/32 in
place made
United States: Texas, Houston
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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