First Mechanical Heart Valve Keeps Tickin’ 38 Years Later

By Adam Pick on May 30, 2008

As I wrote earlier about the first mechanical heart valves, doctors could do little to help people with failing heart valves until 1960, when Portland heart surgeon Dr. Albert Starr and engineer Lowell Edwards introduced their mechanical heart valve. Here is a picture of a replica of the first ball-in-cage heart valve replacement that was given to me by Edwards Lifesciences.

 

First Heart Valve Replacement - Caged Ball Design

 

One of the key questions patients ask me is, “How long did the early mechanical heart valves last?”

Well, below you can see scans of a Starr-Edwards heart valves from a 67-year-old Montreal woman. The valves have been functioning flawlessly 38 years after surgeons implanted them. The aortic valve is open in the left image, and the mitral valve is open in the right. The New England Journal of Medicine featured the cardiac catheterization images from the Montreal Heart Institute in its May 22 issue.

 

Ultrasound Images Of First Mechanical Heart Valve Replacement

 

Before Starr and Edwards developed their mechanical heart valve, no patient had lived longer than three months after heart valve replacement attempts. Four of Starr’s earliest patients lived more than 40 years.

Amazing!!!

Keep on tickin!
Adam


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.


Bill Holbert says on August 19th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Dear Adam:
I am Bill Holbert a Long Time firefighter Paramedic my wife just had Aortic and Mytral valve replacements on 8/15/2008 and is doing very well she is still on a temporary pacer but only on the ventricular side I am happy to see
such an improvement in her she has better color and it is easier for her to talk and not have to catch her breath I am glad to see your page because even though i am a Medic firefighter you still wander what a patients quility of life will be for their future and as i can tell it improves things tremendously….


Leave a Reply

Adam's Newest Blogs

Adam's Newest Posts

12 Surgeons Help Me Film 20 Videos at STS! Learn More.

Let’s Go Red for Women! Learn More.

New Community Posts

William says, "Any opinions on incision shield? Should..."
Read more

Paul says, "I have been to the CC in Cleveland been..."
Read more

Newest Community Post

William says, "Any opinions on incision shield? Should"
Read more

Paul says, "I have been to the CC in Cleveland been"
Read more

Alina says, "I know the question of "what type of"
Read more

Find Heart Valve Surgeons

Search 1,500 patient-recommended surgeons