Special Research Update: “Is Your Surgeon Likely To Perform Mitral Valve Repair?” With Dr. Steven Bolling
Over the years, I’ve received several patient testimonials for Dr. Steven Bolling. While I had never met Dr. Bolling, I was fortunate to attend his lecture, “Mitral Valve Repair Predictability” at the Mitral Conclave. I found many elements of his presentation VERY important for patients facing heart valve surgery. That said, I was lucky to meet with Dr. Bolling to discuss his findings.
Thanks to Dr. Steven Bolling, heart surgeon, for taking the time to share his research with us. So you know, Dr. Bolling is the director of The Mitral Valve Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During his 27-year career, Dr. Bolling has performed over 8,000 cardiac operations — with over 2,500 procedures involving the mitral valve.
For the members of our community that are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of this video interview with Dr. Bolling below.
Adam: Hi, everybody. It’s Adam and we are coming to you from the AATS in Philadelphia. I’m very excited to be sitting next to Dr. Steven Bolling who is the director of the mitral valve clinic at the University of Michigan and we’ve got a discussion we were just having about a recent presentation that you gave at the Mitral Conclave. You presented a piece that was titled “Who is performing mitral valve repair surgery in the United States”. I thought what you talked about was really interesting and really valid for the patients out there. I was hoping you might be able to summarize some of the key findings from your research.
Dr. Bolling: Well, thanks, Adam. This was really an interesting piece of research. It looked at about 50,000 cases of mitral valve surgery and correlated all the factors that would predict a patient getting a mitral valve repair as opposed to replacement. You know, as you know, the concept of mitral valve repair is so different for the patients as opposed to mitral valve replacement that that patient can expect to live 10 or 20 years longer with a mitral valve repair and not have the complications of being on coumadin or facing a redo. Mitral valve repair really is the gold standard. It really almost cures that disease. We looked at all the surgeries done in the United States for mitral valve surgery for three years in a row and our findings were that by individual surgeon volume, the more that surgeon operated on the mitral valve, the more for any given patient he was likely to repair it. Now, in and of itself, that’s not outstanding. The more that you do of anything the better you are but this is really the first time in the United States we’ve been able to show that by individual surgeon volume and your surgeon should be accountable. And I think it is a very important thing for patients to know how much mitral valve surgery that surgeon does. And it’s sort of been jokingly said that if your surgeon advises mitral valve replacement, you should replace your surgeon. But, in a sense, I think that’s true.
Adam: Dr. Bolling, thank you so much for all that you’re doing, the research, the clinical work. I know we’ve got a lot of folks out there who have come to you for surgery and they’ve had a great result. I want to thank you for coming by the booth today and sharing your research with all the folks at our community so thanks so much for what you’re doing.
Dr. Steve Bolling: Adam, thanks for having me here.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.