Karl Victor Hall
Biography of Karl Victor Hall
Karl Victor Hall, a pioneer in heart surgery, graduated in medicine from the University of Oslo in 1946. In 1963 he was for one year a research collaborator at the Anaesthesiological laboratory at Harvard, and from 1964 to 1974 he was deputy head physician and lecturer at Rikshospitalet, Norway’s national hospital. Here he became full professor of surgery in 1974, succeeding Leif Magnus Efskind (1904-1987), another pioneer in cardiac surgery in Norway. Hall was the first to be employed at The Institute for Surgical Research, opened at Rikshospitalet in Oslo on September 9th 1966. At the time he was completing his doctoral dissertation.
In 1960 Hall got the idea of using vena saphena magna in situ as a bypass after the valves of the veins had been removed. The first results of this method were published in Surgery in 1962. In 1969 he performed the first coronary bypass operation in Norway.
Until the mid 1970s he used the available valves of the time. He saw that improvements could be made in the tilting disc concept, and started work with the support of his friend Arne Wøien, a physicist and businessman. However, at the time prosthetic heart valve expertise was not available in Norway, and they contacted Robert L. Kaster, then working in Minneapolis. The collaboration of the surgeon, the physicist, and the engineer resulted in what became known as Medtronic-Hall-Kaster tilting disk, now called Medtronic-Hall Valve. The primary goal of the design was to obtain the least possible obstruction to flow. It was developed in 1976, and in 1977 Hall was the first to implant it.