Wednesday, August 25, 2010

50 years on: a half-century of Starr-Edwards

On this very day fifty years ago - August 25, 1960 - the first Starr-Edwards artificial mitral valve was successfully implanted in a human patient. In honor of that feat, we share this photograph of the Starr lab team, circa 1960.

One of the women pictured here, nurse Betty Stephens (second from right) was in the History of Medicine Room last week, along with perfusionist Jeri Dobbs (not pictured). Betty confirmed a detail that I had long assumed was exaggerated hearsay: she did indeed hand-sew the sewing ring to the bottom of at least one valve after scrubbing in the OR with the patient on the table. Talk about pressure to perform petit point!

Those interested in more details about the history of the development of the Starr-Edwards valve, especially the events leading up to August 25, 1961, mark your calendars: Richard Mullins, MD, will be presenting a talk on the topic at Dept. of Surgery Grand Rounds at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, September 27.

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