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Name Of David Letterman’s Heart Surgeon

Posted by Adam Pick on September 11th, 2008

Lisa was recently diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation due to due to mitral valve prolapse. That said, Lisa is currently searching for a heart surgeon. She writes to me, “Hi Adam: I live in New York…. And, I am curious… Do you know the name of David Letterman’s heart surgeon?”

David Letterman

As you may know, David Letterman had emergency heart surgery on January 14, 2000 at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York. David Letterman’s surgeon was Doctor O. Wayne Isom, the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Due to a blocked artery, Letterman had quintuple heart bypass surgery.

Dr. Wayne Isom - David Letterman's Heart Surgeon
Dr. Wayne Isom – Letterman’s Surgeon

As a result of heart surgery, Letterman missed his first television show in twenty years of late night entertainment. In total, Letterman was out for five weeks during his recovery. Upon Dave’s return to The Late Show, there was a week-long celebration featuring Jerry Seinfield, Julia Roberts, Rudy Giuliani, Bill Cosby, Regis Philbin, etc.

As for Doctor O. Wayne Isom, Letterman’s surgeon, he too is a very celebrated person. Recognition for Dr. Isom’s work includes:

  • The Greenberg Prize
  • The American Heart Association’s distinguished Bugher Foundation Award for Achievement in Cardiovascular Science and Medicine
  • The Hero With A Heart Award from the National Marfan Foundation
  • The first annual Humanitarian Award from the Larry King Cardiac Foundation
  • The NYSAE Education Research Foundation
  • The highly coveted Third Year Teaching Award from Weill Cornell Medical College’s medical students.

I hope that helps you better understand a little bit more about David Letterman’s heart surgery and Doctor O. Wayne Isom, Letterman’s heart surgeon. If you are looking for specialized heart valve surgeons in New York, you may also want to consider Dr. David Adams (for mitral valve surgery) or Dr. Paul Stelzer (for aortic valve surgery).

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.


Cindy Tarver says on September 11th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I am currently in the process of having Dr. Adams in NY (that Adam speaks of above) review all of my records & tests as I have 100% regurgitation, mitral valve is shot, and needs fixing! It took them ONE day to get my faxed information and CALL ME!! And I am in California! It is a Mitral Valve Repair CENTER … that’s their specialty. They will review all requests for referrals. I want to be SURE I must have a replacement valve … be SURE it can’t be repaired. That is why I am having them review everything. I encourage you to go to the website, there is abundant information there. Dr. Adams is on vacation until Sept. 22 … but after that he will be arranging a conference call for my husband & I to let us know what he feels is the right thing to do. IF I LIVED in NY … I’d be at his door TODAY ;) !!!


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