The History of Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Surgery Before the Advent of Cardiopulmonary Bypass

  • Luigi Chiariello
  • Paolo Nardi
  • Giovanni Alfonso Chiariello


The history of mitral valve surgery runs parallel to the development of heart surgery, as at the turn of the last century rheumatic fever was an epidemic disease that led to late cardiac valve lesions, mostly to mitral stenosis. The year 1948 was historically an important step in the development of closed mitral surgery: on 10 June Bailey performed his first successful commissurotomy and on 16 June Harken performed his first valvuloplasty. Closed mitral valve surgery should be considered one of the most relevant landmarks of heart surgery especially because, focusing on the basic concepts of anatomy and physiopathology of the mitral valve, a simple and effective therapeutic procedure was developed, that briefly became one of the most diffuse cardiac operations performed. Once satisfactory results were obtained and mortality became consistently low, the fate of thousands of patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis dramatically changed. Closed mitral valvuloplasty was considered for long time to be a very effective procedure, in spite of the introduction and diffusion of open heart surgery: thus, until the 1970s most surgeons advised closed valvulotomy as the primary operation in all patients with mitral stenosis.


Mitral Valve Mitral Regurgitation Mitral Stenosis Mitral Valve Surgery Valve Orifice 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigi Chiariello
    • 1
  • Paolo Nardi
    • 1
  • Giovanni Alfonso Chiariello
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiac SurgeryTor Vergata University of Rome, Fondazione Policlinico Tor VergataRomeItaly

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