Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog

Get the latest news, patient advice and insights about heart valve surgery from Adam Pick, patient, author and website founder

“What About Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery?” asks Melanie

A key question for patients needing heart valve surgery is, “What type of incision will be used to access and then repair or replace my heart valve?”

For example, Melanie just asked me, “Can you please tell me if the mitral valve can be replaced via minimally invasive surgery? I need mine replaced. I was told that only mitral valve repairs can be done using less invasive techniques. Is that true?”

Picture Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair SurgeryDiagram of Minimally Invasive Approach to the Mitral Valve

I wanted to provide Melanie an expert response. So, I contacted Dr. Marc Gillinov from the Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Gillinov is a valve specialist. About 90% of his surgeries involve valve therapy. Most importantly, Dr. Gillinov has helped over 100 patients from our community including Lee Corbin, Ralph Mason, and Anita Devine. In addition to all of that great stuff, Dr. Gillinov is a super nice guy who also co-wrote Heart 411.

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“What About Sternal Nonunion After Heart Surgery?” asks John

I just received a great question from John about sternal clicking after open heart surgery.

In his email, John writes to me, “Adam,  I have a sternal click.  It started 2 days post op where I was having trouble sleeping on my back. Attempting to sleep on my side, I felt a decisive “thud” and immediately rolled back and my chest seemed to right itself back.  I continued to experience this click as I had little sternal pain and was liberal in my movements.  I then researched the topic and came across some info on nonunion of the sternotomy and became concerned.  Is this common for patients? What is a nonunion of the sternum? What can be done to prevent this? What can be done to correct it? Thanks! John”

Xray of Sternon NonunionXray of Sternal Nonunion

To get John an expert response, I contacted Dr. T. Sloane Guy, from Temple Health in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Guy is the chief of cardiac surgery at Temple and has help several patients in our community including Scott Carson, Arthur Rundstrom, Arthur Perry and Joseph Gowaskie.

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Free Webinar eBook & Video: “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery and Valve Management Guidelines” with Dr. Adams, Dr. Nishimura & Me

Great news. If you missed our recent webinar, “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery; Plus, Valve Management Guidelines” with Dr. David Adams, Dr. Rick Nishimura and myself, you can now download the free 40-page eBook by clicking here.

Download Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery

Watch The Webinar Filmed In Dr. Adams’ Office!

In addition to the eBook, you can also watch the webinar that was filmed live from Dr. Adams’ office at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

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Surgeon Q&A: “Is it Possible to Remove the Calcium From My Bicuspid Aortic Valve?” asks Rachel

I just received a great question from Rachel about calcium build-up on bicuspid aortic valves.

Rachel writes to me, “Hi Adam, At 49, I was recently diagnosed with a severely calcified bicuspid aortic valve. I’m told that I will need surgery in the next year. I don’t really have any symptoms… yet. My question is about the calcium on the leaflets. Is it possible for the surgeon to simply remove the calcium to improve the functioning of the valve? Or, does the calcium always damage the valve leaflets to the point where it needs to be replaced? Thanks, Rachel.”

Bicuspid Aortic Valve with Calcium Build-UpBicuspid Aortic Valve with Calcium Build-Up

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Health Benefits of Hydrotherapy for Heart Surgery Patients

For centuries, people have used water as a way to calm and de-stress the body, relieve pain and improve overall well-being.

Generally referred to as hydrotherapy, it can involve anything from soaking in a warm tub to relieve discomfort or using cold water to reduce inflammation. Although “hydrotherapy” can also include inhaling steam, using foot baths and placing a hot compress on an aching head, it more commonly refers to immersing the entire body in a hot tub, spa or pool.

As for me, I’m a “fish out of water”.  Hot or cold, I’m always up for getting wet. I like to swim, surf, scuba, snorkel, wakeboard and simply sit in water. Water rejuvenates me. Here’s a picture of Ethan, my son, and I playing in a lake.

Adam & Ethan Pick Swimming In Lake

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