Aortic Valve Dilator

Aortic Valve Dilator

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Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
This aortic dilator designed by the donor Charles P. Bailey, M.D. (1911-1993) was used to widen calcified aortic leaflets, allowing blood to flow more freely through the Mitral valve. In 1948 Dr. Bailey a pioneering cardiac surgeon was the first to attempt an operation for Mitral commissurotomy. Upon reaching the heart Dr. Bailey slipped a finger inside the heart and opened the leaflets with a small knife. The surgery was performed "blind" going into the heart with his index finger with a blade attached and widening the valve. Bailey first four patients did not survive but the fifth patient was a success. First successful June 10, 1948.
After World War II physicians in Britain and the United States returned to the question of operating on the mitral valve to relieve stenosis. In Boston Dwight Harken, Russell Brock in England Horace Smithy in Charleston, SC.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dilator, aortic valve
date made
ca 1951
George P. Pilling and Son Company
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in x 11 3/4 in; 3.81 cm x 6.35 cm x 29.845 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Charles P. Bailey, M.D.
Medical Procedure- Surgery
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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