Shelby Praises Dr. John Randolph and Dr. Ron Elkins, Oklahoma Heart Surgeons

There is ab-sooooooooo-lute-ly nothing better than opening my inbox and reading these types of emails… Thanks Shelby!

Hi Adam,

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, which was stenoic with regurgitation.  I have had annual ultrasounds since then. In August of this year, I discovered that it was time for a valve job.  I am a 40 year old male, in excellent condition. My doctor and I decided on a Ross Procedure.  On November 13, I had my surgery with Drs. John Randolph and Dr. Ron Elkins at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Ross Procedure Patient, Shelby Hudgens
Shelby With Wife Sarah (Ross Procedure Patient)

I had my surgery on a Thursday and was back home the following Monday.  I am currently three weeks post-op and am doing some light running with no issues.  Really, the only problem I am having is premature ventricular contractions, which is being treated with 50mg Toprol XL.

Every day is better than the previous one, so I guess I am headed in the right direction.  I feel great with very little pain or discomfort.  Ultrasound results indicate everything is now perfectly normal.

Dr. Ron Elkins - Oklahoma Heart Surgeon

I would like to make your readers and future patient about my surgeons and the Oklahoma Heart Hospital (OHH).  I did a great amount of research prior to my surgery and if there are better surgeons or facilities in the United States, I couldn’t find them.  Top notch, all the way.  OHH provided me with the best medical care I have ever received.

Anyway, I purchased your heart valve book prior to my surgery and found it to be extremely helpful.  I hope you are doing well.

Regards,

Shelby R. Hudgens
Ada, Oklahoma

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.

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  • Matt Harness

    Shelby,
    I live in Dallas and anticipate aortic valve replacement soon. Any insight on Dallas surgeons?

  • Shelby Hudgens

    I’m not familiar enough with surgeons in the Dallas area to offer any meaningful insight. As I said, I had a Ross and after a great deal of research discovered one of the best facilities and surgeons for that procedure right in my backyard.

  • Matt Harness

    Thanks for your feedback. I will probably go with Dr. Henry. He is with Baylor.

  • Shelby Hudgens

    I wish you the very best. Are you having a Ross?

  • Sandy

    I totally agree with you. We live in Mexico and my husband was having congestive heart failure, with mitral valve problmes etc. A friend told us about OHH and since we are from OK, we looked into it. The web site sounded too good to be true…. IT IS ALL TRUE! The most amazing place with the most amazing doctors. His surgeon was Dr. John Randolph too, and CHF doctor is Dr. Phil Adamson. Having 3 separate surgeries last September we really got to know the people there. The nursing staff is incredible as well and when they say the patient to nurse ratio is 4:1, it is true, no visiting hours, and so much more.

    My husband is doing well, still gets short of breath, but very active and playing tennis daily, lifting weights, swimming all just after 4 month. There are times he will back off as he gets sore and maybe more short of breath, but all in all, so much better than before.

    Thanks Adam for all your hard work and keeping us informed.

  • Matt Harness

    Shelby,
    My issue stems from radiation/chemo as a childhood cancer (Hodgkins) survivor. I have been monitoring my valve for over ten years and I was told I am entering the one to two year window. Valve area .9. But I am still a-symptomatic. Take care.

  • Shelby Hudgens

    I wish you the best. I’ll give you a word of encouragement and say that the surgery, for me, wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared. It is scary, but I think a week or two post-op, you’ll look back and wonder what the big deal was. I’m not making light of a major surgery, though. Let me know if you want any info for the doctors/hospital I decided on. Take care.

  • Matt Harness

    I think I am going to stay in Dallas. I am researching Dr. Henry and, so far, insiders are telling me good things. Thanks for the encouragement. It has been a while since I have been under the knife but I have faith suffering is for a purpose. It would be nice to chat maybe as I get closer to the big day. If you send me a contact email at harnessmatt@gmail.com maybe I can give you a call. Thanks.

  • Adam Pick

    Matt,

    Have you considered Dr. William Ryan in Plano? He’s one of the valve surgeon gurus in Dallas area.

    Keep on tickin!

    Adam

  • Shelby Hudgens

    Three-month checkup yesterday — doctor said everything sounds completely normal. Would definitely do the Ross again. Have an echo scheduled for April, so we’ll see what things look like close up.

  • Kathy Lemons

    Shelby and Adam,
    My son is due to have an aorta replacement within the next two weeks. He is going to be at the OHH. We have read Adam’s book and it has helped immensely to better prepare us for the surgery. My son is 37 and has two young sons. An additional concern we have is how to help the 11 and 9 year old boys make it through the process along with my son and we care givers. Any suggestions?

  • Shelby Hudgens

    Hi Kathy,

    I have an eight year old son. I had known about my condition for most of his life, so he essentially grew up with the possibility that I would at some point have heart surgery. My wife and I were always very open about what was going on, so when the day came he was fairly prepared. On the morning of the surgery we had lots of family members present, along with our pastor. My mom brought a lot of games to keep them busy (OHH has a nice waiting area). I was in surgery nearly eight hours, so the wait got a little long, but he did just fine.

    Just curious — who’s his surgeon?

  • Diane

    Has anybody researched Emory Hospital in Atlanta? If so, any surgeons you have information on? Anybody had a personal experience there? My 25 year-old daughter will have Aortic Valve Replacement surgery this summer and keeps leaning toward Emory. I have not found enough information about AVR surgery at Emory. Thanks for any help.

  • Philip Reso

    Shelby,

    I am encouraged by your results. I am 41 and need valve replacement within the next 2-3 months I am told. A local surgeon mentioned Dr. Elkins to me. Did you come across anyone at the University of Alabama at Birmingham or in the Houston area? I live in New Orleans and would like to have this done nearby if possible.

    Philip

  • Shelby Hudgens

    Five month follow-up w/ echo was last Wednesday. Everything looked great. Minor regurgitation on the homograph, which the doctor said would likely improve over time. So far so good. Having a Ross is turning out to be a very good decision for me.

    Phillip, have you consulted Adam’s surgeon database?

    -Shelby

  • Dana Ellis

    Shelby, I am scheduled for the Ross Procedure Thursday, May 7, 2009 with Dr. Craig Elkins and his father, Dr. Ron Elkins at Integris Medical Center in Oklahoma City. I was delighted to read the account of your procedure with Dr. Ron Elkins. I feel confident going in to this surgery and am looking forward to regaining some energy lost over the last several years. I am a 53 year old active female in very good health (other than aortic stenosis) and my husband and I were so thankful I am a candidate for this procedure. Thanks for posting encouraging words! I look forward to posting my success story. Dana Ellis

  • Shelby Hudgens

    Hi Dana,

    Please let us know how your procedure went. All the best!

    -Shelby

  • Janet Harrison

    Dana, Hope you are doing well. My daughter had the ross procedure performed by Dr. R. Elkins in Children Hospital in Oklahoma City when she was 12 years old in 2001. She had aortic stenosis and is now 20 yrs old and doing great. She is a motocross rider and active in numerous other sports. We live in washington state and came to him because he was recommended by her cardiologist here. I am positive you will do well with him. Best of Luck.

    Janet

  • Shelby Hudgens

    An update:

    Just had one year follow up after RP last November. All the key parameters (dP, area, EF) were better this time than before, so it looks like I’m headed in the right direction.

    -Shelby

  • Bob Sluys

    YES!!! Dr. Elkins did a revision of my Ross Procedure (my third one in a two year period) in June of 1996. He replced the pulmonary position valve, zapped me with butt-load of prednisone and even though I had a hip-replacement in 2006, my heart health seems to be fine! I’m 53 and even though the fake hip limits my physical activity I can still jump on my bike and ride HARD for a long time! Not sure of the long-term on the aortic position that was originally replaced in 1994 (I ran into the surgeon who did the first two recently-he told me he quit doing Ross procedures due to the poor success rate (maybe his, but Dr. Elkins might be able to teach him a thing or two!!!) and he predicted 8-10 years for me. I’m approaching year number 14 . .. . thanks, Dr. Elkins!!! PS: He had a nurse who was adorable, I forgot her name and that will have to be that. Best wishes to all of you!

  • Bob Sluys

    Hey Adam–I can’t find an email address for you!!!! I wrote an essay and recorded an audio book way back in 1998 (therapy, pissing, moaning, good times . ..;>/ . . . I’d love to forward those to you! My timing was bad-internet wasn’t happening yet, so, it’s so cool that you have this book out there! I’d be honored if you listened to my audio book! You may contact me at bobsluys@kw.com thanks!!!!!

  • Linda Comeaux

    Hi,

    I am a 57 year old female which had the Ross procedure done by Dr. Ronald Elkins twenty years ago this past March. I am currently doing great, slight leakage in hormograph valve, but no major problems. Active, and really heathly thanks to God and Dr. Elkins.

  • William Hooker

    Hello my name is William Hooker or willie as I have went by my whole life. I had my first ross procedure done feb 8 1982 when I was only 3 years old. I stil have the same pulmonary valve that was moved then but I have had my aortic valve replaced twice. Dr elkins performed all 3 of my surgeries. I have heard many stories of him traveling all over the world doing surgeries and people coming from all over the world to see him. If he gets on here to read these I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for giving me my life.

  • Denyce Stellmach

    My son was diagnosed with stenosis of the aortic valve in 1985 at the age of 16 mo. He was treated at Mass. General in Boston. In 1999
    we were told that he needed immediate surgery. Mass. General did not offer us the option of a Ross. We carefully researched our options and two weeks later left our home in New Hampshire to go to Oklahoma City Childrens Hospital where Dr. Ronald Elkins performed his surgery. We were told he was the best in the world and we were not disappointed. JT celebrated his 11th birthday the day after his surgery. Today my son, JT is 26 years old happy and healthy. We can’t begin to thank the hospital, staff and especially Dr. Elkins for our miracle. God Bless!!!

  • Debbie Davey

    I also had surgery with Dr. Elkins back in 1981. I was the worst off patient he said he’d ever seen. During my second surgery I went into cardiac arrest, needed a transfusion of 8 units of blood and oxygen to my brain had to be shut off longer than they would have liked. However, I came through with no problems. I needed angioplasty at the age of 4, and now at 34 need another.

    I was experiencing some health issues recently and was in the hospital. My mother wondered if it was connected to my cardiac history. So she wrote to Dr. Elkins. He remembered my case clearly and said he wanted to talk to me and to the doctors. Wow! What an amazing man!

    You truly were in the best care.

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