Starr-Edwards Heart Valve

Starr-Edwards Heart Valve

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Description (Brief)
This artificial mitral caged-ball heart valve was developed by engineer M. Lowell Edwards and Dr. Edward Starr (born 1926). After attempts at trying to design a bileaflet artificial heart valve Edwards abandoned the idea of trying to replicate a natural looking valve. Instead they designed a caged ball device for the replacement of the mitral valve. It was the first long-term successful replacement with a mitral caged ball valve. It was manufactured by Edwards Laboratories, in Santa Ana, California.
In the 1950s and 1960s, rheumatic fever was still a serious problem. When left untreated it caused damage to the mitral valve, stenosis (narrowing of the valve opening) regurgitation (leakage of blood) or prolapse (billowing of the mitral leaflets).
The first implantation of a Starr-Edwards valve took place in the summer of 1960. It had a Lucite cage, and a silicone ball or poppet.
In the 1960s and 1970s five Starr-Edwards ball valves were developed including ones in which the metal struts were covered in Teflon.
The Oregon Health and Science University has an archival and artifact collection documenting the development of the Starr-Edwards heart valve.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
date made
about 1965
Edwards Laboratories
Associated Place
United States: California, Santa Ana
overall: 2 3/8 in x 2 1/8 in; 6.0325 cm x 5.3975 cm
overall: 3.1 cm x 2.6 cm; 1 1/4 in x 1 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
model number
serial number
S 8997
Credit Line
Dr. Patrick K. C. Chun
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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