The first successful operation for the relief of Mitral stenosis, a condition which causes the Mitral valve to stiffen and not fully open thereby restricting the flow of blood was performed on May 20, 1923 by Doctors Elliott Cutler (1888-1947) and Samuel Levine (1891-1966) on a young girl using a long narrow tenotomy knife.
Because of the tough nature of the calcification which leaves the valve stiff and unable to open and close properly Cutler saw the need for a stronger instrument.
The Cardiovalvulotome or valvulotome was developed for just this operation. To punch into the tissue and secure pieces of calcification from the Mitral valve before floating away into the blood system and causing an embolism. The initial experiments were done on dogs. .
Cutler and Dr. Claude Beck (1894-1971) continued to experiment on dogs. Cutler and Beck operated on patients, but there were no more successes. Subsequent operations with the valvulotome were not successful
The Valvulotome is marked “Codman and Shurtleff, Boston, Stainless”.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.