Magovern-Cromie Artificial Heart Valve

A normal human heart has four chambers. Each chamber has a valve: the tricuspid, the mitral, the aortic, and the pulmonary. As the heart muscle contacts, the mitral and tricuspid valves close and the pulmonary and aortic valves open, directing blood to flow in one direction. When one or more valves do not work properly, they might need to be repaired or replaced.
The causes of heart valve malfunction are numerous, and can include congenital malformation or acquired heart disease. Artificial heart valves were the first mechanical replacements of a natural organism in a human.
Pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Charles Hufnagel (1916-1989) began working on the developed of artificial heart valves in 1947, and the first clinical implantation occurred in 1952. The patient's natural valve was left in place and the mechanical valve was placed in the descending aorta, aiding the damaged valve.
Many artificial heart valves were developed in the early 1960s. This Magovern-Cromie caged ball valve was first implanted in a patient in 1962. It was developed by Dr. George Magovern of the University of Pittsburgh and engineer Harry Cromie. The struts and the small hooks are made of titanium. The hooks at the base of the valve replaced the need for sutures and shortened the time of the operation. Thousands of Magovern-Cromie artificial valves were manufactured and implanted until production ceased in 1980.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1963
Codding, D. D.
Physical Description
silicone (overall material)
titanium (overall material)
overall: 2 3/8 in x 2 3/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 6.0325 cm x 6.985 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Dr. Patrick K. C. Chun
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Artificial Heart Valves
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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