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Think Out Loud

The Forefront of Cardiology

Pete Springer/OPB

It’s been half a century since Albert Starr co-invented and implanted the world’s first artificial heart valve, but the impact of his medical milestone is still being felt today. The valve, conceived in Oregon by Starr and engineer Lowell Edwards, was an early success in the medical device industry and paved the way for countless innovations in the field of cardiology worldwide. It also saved lives. A Facebook tribute page is filled with testimonials from grateful patients given a second chance at life through his work. 

Albert Starr’s surgical prowess has taken him from the front lines of the Korean War to the sparkling streets of 1970’s Paris, but Portland has long been home to both his personal and professional pursuits. He founded the Albert Starr Academic Center in Portland that attracts top talent to the region, and has left an indelible mark on generations of doctors and patients in the Northwest.

We’ll speak to Albert Starr about his lifetime of work, including how his namesake valve has evolved over time, and hear from researchers at the forefront of cardiology’s future about innovations yet to come.

How have changes in cardiology affected quality of life for you, or people you know? What do you want to know from Albert Starr?

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