Tubbs-type mitral valve dilator, England, 1961-1970
This instrument was used to open a restricted or damaged mitral valve in the heart caused by inherited defects, old age or disease. If damaged, the mitral valve can allow blood to flow in two directions instead of one, causing blood to collect in the lungs. This causes breathing problems and eventually heart failure. This dilator was designed to be inserted into the closed up mitral valve during open heart surgery. When the handle is pushed the dilator expands to 45 mm wide. The instrument is named after the cardiothoracic surgeon Oswald Sydney Tubbs (1908-1993). The Tubbs dilator continues to be popular today.
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Glossary: mitral valve
a valve in the heart consisting of two cusps attached to the walls at the opening between the left atrium and left ventricle. It allows blood to pass from the atrium to the ventricle, but prevents any backward flow.
An instrument for expanding something or a part of something. In surgery this is often a passageway or an organ.