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Nina Starr Braunwald Cardiovascular Research Film Collection

 Collection
Identifier: ACC 2018-07

Abstract

UNPROCESSED COLLECTION. Contents are 16mm film reels of varying length, most silent and in color, originating in the National Heart Institute. They depict Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald performing heart surgeries, chiefly the experimental implantation of artificial heart valves of her own design and fabrication.

Dates

  • 1960-1965

Extent

1 Linear Feet (19 reels, 1 box)

Creator

Physical Location

Materials stored offsite; 30 days prior notice required. Contact the Historical Audiovisuals Program for more information.

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Access Restrictions

Unprocessed collection. Access requires production of viewing copies; 30 days prior notice required. Contact the Historical Audiovisuals Program for more information.

Copyright Information

The National Library of Medicine believes these items to be in the public domain. Contact the Reference Staff for details regarding rights.

Biographical/Historical Note

Nina Starr Braunwald was born in 1928 in New York City. She earned a bachelor's degree and medical diploma from New York University, and completed a residency at New York's Bellevue Hospital in 1955. Braunwald completed her training in general surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center and took part in a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Charles Hufnagel, who developed the first artificial heart valve.

Under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew G. Morrow at the Clinic of Surgery in the National Heart Institute (now the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), Braunwald worked with Dr. Morrow to develop an artificial mitral valve using Teflon ribbons, which she tested on dogs. In 1960, she replaced the mitral valve of a 44-year-old woman with her artificial valve. The surgery and valve replacement were considered a success despite the patient's death four months later. Dr. Braunwald also helped develop the Braunwald-Cutter valve, which was a cloth-covered, mechanical device that was used in thousands of surgeries until it was superceded by the Starr-Edwards valve. Braunwald was appointed deputy chief of the Clinic of Surgery at the National Heart Institute in 1965 but left three years later to take an associate professorship in surgery at the University of California, San Diego, where she established a cardiovascular surgery program. She then became an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School in 1972 and went on to serve on the staffs of several Boston-area hospitals including Boston Children's, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the West Roxbury Veterans Administration Hospital.

As a woman in the male-dominated field of heart surgery, she faced numerous obstacles after leaving the National Heart Institute where her mentor, Dr. Morrow, had bolstered her reputation and skills in the surgical community. Dr. Braunwald persevered. In addition to the artificial valves she developed at NIH, she also contributed to the development of a stented aortic homograft for mitral valve replacement and pioneered techniques to discourage the formation of clots associated with prosthetic valves and circulatory assist devices. Among her many accomplishments, Braunwald was the first women to perform open heart surgery, the first woman to be certified by the American Board of Thoracic surgery, and the first woman to be selected for the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. The Association of Women Surgeons presented her with its Distinguished Member Award for her achievements. Nina Braunwald died of breast cancer on August 5, 1992 in Weston, Massachusetts.

Collection Summary

The seventeen titles, arranged roughly in chronological order, were created between 1960 and 1965. They highlight Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald's research and experimentation in heart valve replacement. These films show the variety of techniques she used along with prototypes of several models of artificial valves, ranging from the ceramic artificial valve to the Teflon ball valve prosthesis. The reel titles were transcribed from film cans, and the item level descriptions are based on information found in individual cards containing production and film description information provided by the Medical Arts and Photography Branch at NIH, which filmed the surgeries.

Abstract

UNPROCESSED COLLECTION. Contents are 16mm film reels of varying length, most silent and in color, originating in the National Heart Institute. They depict Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald performing heart surgeries, chiefly the experimental implantation of artificial heart valves of her own design and fabrication.

Physical Location

Materials stored offsite; 30 days prior notice required. Contact the Historical Audiovisuals Program for more information.

Provenance

Transfer, National Archives and Records Administration-Washington National Records Center, 1999, Accession 2018-07.

General

Processed by
Rachel James; Gabrielle Barr
Processing Completed
2018
Encoded by
Gabrielle Barr
Title
Finding Aid to the Nina Starr Braunwald Cardiovascular Research Film Collection, 1960-1965
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Rachel James; Gabrielle Barr
Date
2018
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
1.0

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Historical Audiovisuals Collection Collecting Area

Contact:
8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894
1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)