Dr. Albert Starr Speaks at Edwards Lifesciences Center Event

Co-creator of first artificial heart valve presented his role in the evolution of the valve

Internationally acclaimed surgeon, scientist, inventor and teacher Albert Starr, M.D., presented his lecture, “A Cherry Blossom Moment in the History of Heart Valve Replacement” April 19 at The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, to a room filled with faculty, students and community supporters from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the Executive and Senior Leadership Teams from Edwards Lifesciences Corporation.

M. Lowell Edwards, founder of the company known today as Edwards Lifesciences, set out in 1958 to create an artificial heart, and presented the idea to Dr. Starr, who was a surgeon at the University of Oregon Medical School. Starr encouraged Edwards to focus first on creating an artificial heart valve. Two years later, the first Starr-Edwards mitral valve had been designed, developed, tested and successfully placed in a human patient.

Starr, currently the director of Academic Affairs and the medical director of Bioresearch and Development for Providence Health & Services, Oregon, spoke on the issues they faced when designing and testing the initial valves, and how some of the original valves have lasted up to 46 years in some patients, a testament to the high level of engineering and research that went into the design.

Starr ended his talk with a video demonstration of the future of artificial valves, the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implementation (TAVI), and how current research and engineering is making Edwards’ original goal of creating an artificial heart become a reality more than 50 years later.

About The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular TechnologyThe Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology is an academic-based research and training center housed within The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine aimed at fostering an interdisciplinary approach toward advancing our understanding of cardiovascular disease.  The concept behind the Center was developed in 2006 by the leadership at Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).  The goal was to create an academic focal point for cardiovascular research and training within the dynamic biomedical device sector of Orange County.

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