Hall-Kaster Heart Valve

The Hall-Kaster is a pivoting disc heart valve prostheses that began manufacture in 1977. It has open ended struts to prevent the buildup of thrombus, and a pivotal disc mechanism designed to split the orifice into two equal parts when opened. There were no welds, joint, or bends that could weaken the valves structure after years of use. The disc opens to 75 degrees with an aperture in center, made of graphite substrate and tantalum (the latter makes the disc radiopaque.) It is coated in pyrolytic carbon. The valve is housed in a titanium ring, with a sewing ring made of knitted Teflon. The valve was successful, with regurgitation in 4 of 160 patients. At least 183,000 aortic and 122,000 mitral valves were implanted worldwide with no reports of structural failure.
The valve was developed by Dr. Karl Victor Hall (1917- ), chairman of Department of Surgery at Rikshospitalet in Oslo, Norway, and Robert Kaster, an electrical engineering with a degree from the University of Minnesota (1951). He became interested in designing prostheses while working in Dr. C. Walton Lillehei's laboratory. It was there that he designed the tilting disc valve known as the Lillehei-Kaster valve.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart valve
date made
after 1977
Physical Description
graphite substrate (overall material)
tantalum (overall material)
pyrolytic carbon (overall material)
titanium (overall material)
Teflon (overall material)
overall: 1.5 cm x 2.9 cm x 2.9 cm; 19/32 in x 1 5/32 in x 1 5/32 in
place made
United States: Minnesota, Minneapolis
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
model number
serial number
Health & Medicine
Artificial Organs
Artificial Heart Valves
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Heart Valves
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Manuel Villafaña
Additional Media

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