Starr-Edwards Valve


Other Known Aliasescaged-ball artificial heart valve

DefinitionOne of the first types of artificial heart valves produced.  When the pressure in the ventricle of the heart exceeds the pressure outside the ventricle, the ball is pushed against the cage and blood flows in.  After contraction, the pressure inside the ventricle drops below the outside of the ventricle and the ball moves back against the base, forming the seal.

Clinical SignificanceThis type of valve was one of the first to have long-term survival and you may still encounter these valves today because they were just discontinued in 2007.  Due to the make-up of the valve, patients needed to have INR levels from 2.5-3.5 to prevent thrombosis.

History – Named after Albert Starr (1926-) and Lowell Edwards (1898-1982), who were both noted American cardiovascular surgeons.  It was an interesting partnership as Starr was 30 years junior to Edwards at their initial meeting, but both had a passion for valvular research and worked well together.  The 1st valve was placed in August of 1960 and they went on to replace mitral valves in 8 patients that year and published their results in 1961.  This paper was voted one of the top 100 manuscripts of the 20th century and revolutionized valve surgery.

Related image

Edwards (Left) and Starr (Right)

Image result for albert starr

Starr (suit, middle)

scanned image of page 726


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  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Matthews AM.  The development of the Starr-Edwards heart valve.  Tex Heart Int J.  1998;25(4):282-293
  6. Starr-Edwards Heart Valve.  The National Museum of American History
  7. Starr A, Edwards ML. Mitral Replacement: Clinical Experience with a Ball-Valve Prosthesis. Starr A, Edwards ML. Ann Surg 1961; 154: 726-740.

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