Mike’s Testimonial For Getting Second Opinions BEFORE Heart Surgery

Yes, I’m going to keep stressing this point for all the future patients and caregivers reading this blog…

Please get a second opinion! Today, 35% of patients fail to do so. Here is a great patient story that illustrates the value of second opinions:

Dear Adam,

My name is Mike. I am 47 years old and in 2003 was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. I was experiencing some bothersome leaky heart valve symptoms such as palpitations, insomnia, shortness of breath, and slight numbness in my extremities. The symptoms have been pretty well controlled with medication, although I do have my “off” days. I continue to bike ride and run on my treadmill regularly.

My main reason for writing is to stress the fact (as you have too) for obtaining a second opinion. I have annual echocardiograms and stress tests to monitor my valve.

Getting A Second Opinion

In March of 2008, my cardiologist informed me that my last echo showed a significant increase in regurgitation. I was surprised, as I was feeling fine, even with exercise. After a few more tests, my cardiologist referred me to a surgeon.

I met with the surgeon. Five minutes after looking at my test results, the surgeon said, “We can do the surgery tomorrow or wait until the fall if you prefer”. I had opted for the later.

Lucky for me, my girlfriend’s cousin is a doctor at a well noted cardiac hospital. During my second opinion, I was so surprised at how much time these doctors spent with me compared to the doctors at my other hospital. After these doctors put me through their tests, they came to the conclusion that I do not need the surgery at this time. While I do plan on getting a third opinion, I feel much more confident with the care I receive at my “new” hospital. I was shocked to read in your book that 35% of patients did not get a second opinion.

To sum it up… I think smaller community hospitals may be fine for some minor surgeries, but for anything like heart surgery, do your homework and find a well noted hospital and an experienced surgeon.

I am not sure what the future holds for me, but if I do have the surgery, I will feel more confident due to the other opinions and choices in hospitals and doctors I had made already.

Thanks for a great heart valve surgery book Adam. You have helped many people!



Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Mike, you are so right. A second or third opinion can make all the difference. Search for the right Doctor and/or Hospital until you feel comfortable with them. But one other thing is to get the written reports from all your testing so that you can read them yourself. It is easier to ask “what does this mean” if you have it in black and white than to assume that the doctor has actually read the reports. I had my heart problem for 2 years with my Cardiologist telling me that my problems were hormonal. Only to find when I pulled all my records to go for a second opinion that I had the problem for two years and had I not gotten treatment when I did I would not be around to write this note. The records are yours always get copies.

  • Megan Lillich

    you are so right! we live in a rural area of California ( yes california has rural areas) and the doctors here wanted to operate on my husband the first time he saw him. we went down to LA and saw a doctor down ther and welll here we are 10 years later and he is doing fine. He will need the ross procedure in the next year but that is still 10 years less of ware and tare on his valve. PLUS the doctors around here wanted to do a pig valve and not the ross where are Dr. Trento said he was perfect for the ross- we are going to go see Dr. Starnes ( I think that is how you spell it) at USC in Jan.

  • Jamita Powell

    Thank you for the information, unfortunetly my cousin who is 28 yrs old has already had open heart surgery after about a month of the first opinion. He had a valve replace and one repaired. Sense the surgery he has multiple problems. Everyday is a struggle. what can i do? and how long is normal recovery?

  • Aileen Apolo

    It’s true, getting second opinion is very important. I was 27 when one cardiologist told me to immediately have open heart surgery, but we opted to get a second opinion and the other cardiologist said that we just had to monitor and see when the right time is for my surgery. It’s been six years already and I’m glad I had that second opinion done.

  • melissa lanerie

    I am a 34 year old women who has been diagnosed with a leaky pulmonary artery valve. I am also in my 3rd month of pregnancy. I am very nervous about this diagnosis. I just want to be able to make through this preganancy. Adams testimony has given me some relief with lots of advise. i will soon purchase the book.

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