St. Jude Medical Heart Valve Demonstration 31M Unit

Description (Brief)
The St. Jude artificial heart valve is a floating bileaflet valve with pivots near the central axis. The valve is made of pyrolyte carbon, a very durable and biocompatible material, and the cuff is made of Dacron. The orifice ring is made of machined graphite coated with pyrolytic carbon. The two leaflets are made of tungsten impregnated with graphite.
After successful tests in calves, the first human implantation occurred in October 1977. Over a twelve month period, twenty-four patients received implants of the St. Jude valve in the aortic and the mitral positions.
Manny Villafaña, the son of Puerto Rican immigrants founded St. Jude Medical Inc. in 1976. Villafaña had been approached by Xinon C. Posis, an engineer, and cardiologist Demetre Nicoloff of the University of Minnesota to test their design for a leaflet artificial heart valve. Villafaña and his engineers helped redesign the hinges.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
ca 1980
St. Jude Medical
Physical Description
carbon (overall material)
overall: 7/8 in x 2 1/8 in x 2 3/8 in; 2.2225 cm x 5.3975 cm x 6.0325 cm
overall: 2.2 cm x 5.5 cm x 6.2 cm; 7/8 in x 2 3/16 in x 2 7/16 in
place made
United States: Minnesota, Saint Paul
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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
Dr. Patrick K. C. Chun

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