In the event of a government shutdown, American History will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds. Visit for updates.

Hancock Aortic Tissue Valve

Hancock Aortic Tissue Valve

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Tissue valves such as this Hancock Mitral Valve must be stored in a sealed liquid (formaldehyde) filled container until implantation.
Both porcine (pig) and bovine (cow) tissue are used to make xenograft (transplant from one species to another) valves. Porcine valves utilize the actual valve from the pig, whereas bovine valves are cow tissue that is manipulated into the shape of a valve.
The Hancock Mitral-Tricuspid is a porcine tissue valve, and has a pliable sewing ring. Advantages of having a tissue valve is that one need not take blood-thinner/anticoagulant medication after receiving the valve. For the majority of tissue valve patients, taking an aspirin a day is sufficient anticoagulation therapy. A disadvantage is that they are less durable and will need to be replaced within the patient's lifetime, typically 10 to 15 years, often less in younger patients. Because valve replacement surgery carries a significant risk of death, patient life expectancy is a major criterion in considering a tissue valve. Tissue valves can become hardened, or calcified, over time and there is a rare risk of tissue valve failure or infection.
This valve was manufactured by Extracorporeal Medical Specialties, Inc., which operates as a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
Extracorporeal Medical Specialists Inc.
place made
United States: California, Anaheim
Physical Description
porcine (valve material)
glass (valve container material)
plastic (valve container material)
paper (container material)
stabilized glutaraldehyde (overall active ingredients)
container: 9.2 cm x 9.2 cm x 9.3 cm; 3 5/8 in x 3 5/8 in x 3 21/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
model number
serial number
Credit Line
Gift of Manuel Villafaña
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


I worked for Hancock Laboratories in Anaheim CA in the early 70's. Mr. Hancock himself was there everyday . I was the machine shop supervisor. We made the valve stabilation rings for the stents that support the pig heart valves. I left when Johnson & Johnson took over. 1977. Why is this not mentioned in the history??? This time was the true beginning of history .

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.