Kay-Shiley Mitral Heart Valve

This is a type 1 Kay-Shiley non-tilting disc valve, the most common type of Kay-Shiley valve. It has four vertical struts form two parallel bars made of Stellite, and the disc is made of a radiolucent silicone rubber. It was first used in 1965. Dr. Viking Bjork (1918-2009) implanted Kay-Shiley aortic valves in 60 patients, but results were disappointing. There were incidences of thromoembolism, sudden death, disc wear (particularly the edges), the narrowing of the artery, valvular leaks, disc cocking, and disc variance. Another weakness of this design is that it only took a small amount of thrombus to interfere with disc mobility. In contrast, there is another case of a woman who received a Kay-Shiley mitral implant and went 299 months without valve dysfunction. The accompanying label reads, "KAY--SHILEY #7 Heart Valve"
In 1956, Dr. Earle B. Kay (1911-2000) of St. Vincent Charity Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio helped to perform open-heart surgery using his own heart-lung machine, the Kay-Cross Disc Oxygenator. Donald Shiley (1920-2010), an engineer, was one of the co-inventors of the Bjork–Shiley artificial heart valve. He graduated from the University of Portland in 1951, where he studied engineering. Later, he established his own company, Shiley Laboratories. His first valve was developed with heart-surgeon Dr. Earle Kay, and it was the first disc valve.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
after 1965
Shiley Incorporated
Physical Description
stellite (overall material)
silicone rubber (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 1.6 cm x 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm; 5/8 in x 1 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in
place made
United States: California, Irvine
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
Health & Medicine
Artificial Organs
Artificial Heart Valves
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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