M. Lowell Edwards and the Starr-Edwards Heart Valve
January 18, 1898 –Miles Lowell Edwards is born in Newberg, OR
1924 –M. Lowell Edwards graduates from Oregon Agricultural College with a degree in electrical engineering.
1927 –After serving in an apprenticeship at General Electric, Edwards moves to Tillamook, OR and marries Margaret Watt
1929 –Edwards and his family move to Portland, OR, where he works with Bingham Pump Company, developing expertise in hydraulics
1937 – After selling his Bingham shares, Edwards takes a position with the Weyerhaeuser Company, where he will invent a powerful pump designed to de-bark logs
1942 – Edwards takes a leave of absence from Weyerhaeuser to work with the Boeing and Thompson Products companies on an improved fuel pump for aircraft
By 1945 – The centrifugal aviation fuel pump invented by Edwards is used in the majority of U.S. military aircraft
1947 – Edwards retires from Weyerhaeuser and moves to Portland
1956 – Edwards donates $25,000 to the University of Oregon Medical School’s Department of Radiology. The gift is used to purchase equipment for the Department of Radiology
1957 – Albert Starr, MD, a young cardiac surgeon, arrives at University of Oregon Medical School as an instructor in surgery
Spring 1958 – Edwards introduces himself to Albert Starr, proposing to collaborate on an artificial heart. Starr persuades him to focus on the invention of a prosthetic heart valve. Within weeks, Edwards is sending prototypes to Starr.
1960 - After testing several iterations on dogs, Starr and Edwards settle on the ball-in-cage mitral valve prosthesis as a promising design.
August 1960 – Starr replaces a 33-year old woman’s mitral valve with a ball-in-cage prosthesis fabricated by Edwards. The patient dies 11 hours later, when air trapped in her left atrium embolizes to her brain.
September 1960 – Starr inserts a mitral valve prosthesis into a second patient, Philip Amundson. He recovers and returns to a normal life.
March 1961 – Starr and Edwards present the results of eight valve replacement operations to the American Surgical Association.
October 1961 -Starr and Edwards publish Mitral replacement: clinical experience with a ball-valve prosthesis. Ann Surg 1961; 154: 726-740.
1961 – Starr and Edwards turn their attention the development of a ball-in-cage prosthesis to replace the aortic valve.
1961 – To meet growing demand for valve prostheses, Edwards founds Edwards Laboratory in Santa Ana, California. Edwards’ team of machinists and engineers is challenged to produce a large volume of high-quality valves.
April 1963 – Starr and Edwards aortic valve replacement results are published in Starr A, Edwards ML, McCord CW, Griswold HE. Aortic replacement: clinical experience with a semirigid ball-valve prosthesis. Circulation.1963; 27: 779-783.
1964 – The American Medical Association presents the Layman’s Citation for Distinguished Service to M. Lowell Edwards, in recognition of his contributions to fighting heart disease.
1965 –Edwards Laboratory creates valve Model 6120, which is widely used for over 20 years
1966 – Edwards Laboratory is sold to American Hospital Supply Corporation, becoming American Edwards Laboratories. Lowell Edwards devotes his remaining years to philanthropic work.
April 8, 1982 – Edwards dies and is buried in Friends Cemetery, Newberg