In October 1955, I started training in General Surgery at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). On the third Saturday afternoon in October, I observed John Kirklin performing an open heart operation using extracorporeal circulation. On Monday, I visited the Fellowship Office and requested the addition of Thoracic Training to my studies. This was added and carried with it the requirement of writing a thesis. For this task, my advisor Dr. Bunky Ellis gave me a project: development of a mitral valve prosthesis. This was a virgin field at the time and I first asked myself the question: how does the mitral valve work? In 1959, I started my thesis in the classical manner by studying the anatomy of any mitral valve I could get my hands on. I dissected the hearts of humans, dogs, deer, guinea pigs, beaver, etc. My major conclusion from this effort was that mitral valve anatomy was dominated by irregularity.
KeywordsMitral Valve Papillary Muscle Free Edge Mitral Valve Repair Anterior Leaflet
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