"If I was to need valve surgery again, there would be no doubt I would only want Dr. Castro leaving his fingerprints on my heart."
"All I need to say is that I was completely, truly, and surely blessed by my experience at Sequoia Hospital / Dignity Health in Redwood City, CA. I was born with a Bicuspid aortuc valve and was truly scared. I had a Cardiac cath at MGH in Marin county and the Chief Nurse told me about Dr Luis Castro and Dr. Adam Harmon at Sequoia Health. She took me under her wing as her husband was a patient of Dr Castro's and she set me right up for surgery the next day. I transferred down there and Dr Castro and Dr Harmon were there to meet me. Their bedside manner was beyond reproach and they made me feel great. I instantly knew I was in the right place and had no fear anymore. These Dr's are the Best and they make you feel like you will be up and running soon. I was in surgery the next morning at 6.30am and what a magnificent job they did. I was walking the following day and pain was almost non-existent. The staff in ICU was and is the finest anywhere and they treat you with Dignity, respect, and just pure concern and love. The nursing staff, I beleive, were sent from heaven and honestly, when i was transferred to Cardiac specialties unit, I did not want to leave...WHAT????? This is a true story and I am proof. Every single person at Sequoia Hospital was the absolute best at what they do and all of them truly care about your well being. Dr Luis Castro, Dr. Adam Harmon, I owe you a million thank you's. This was a major surgery and you made it so very pleasant and uplifting with your skill, caring, and attention to all details. There is no other place I would reccomend for Heart surgery than Sequoia Hospital / Dignity Health as I know they have the best surgeon's, the best ICU, CSU, and admin staff that is currently available. I went in with 18% ejection fraction and now am enjoying 40% and it has only been 5 weeks since surgery. I feel great and am walking 8 miles per day. I told Dr. Harmon that it only hurts when I laugh, but he is so funny, I was laughing every time he came in to the room. Thank you to everyone at Sequoia Hospital. You are the best and that is a fact...Jon Carroll"
-- Jon Carroll, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/23/2016
"I had an excellent surgical experience with Dr. Luis Castro and his team at Sequoia Hospital. Due to endocarditis, I had a severely damaged mitral valve. Dr. Castro, with his expertise and skill, was able to repair my valve. I feel so fortunate that he was my surgeon! The entire team was outstanding. Also, the care I received at Sequoia Hospital was first rate. I couldn't have been happier with the results!
I'm from Southern California, and initially consulted with surgeons closer to home. However, after consulting with Dr. Castro, his demeanor and spirit made me feel very confident--not to mention his unbeatable credentials! I knew right away that he was the surgeon for me.
I also want to add that pre and post surgery, Dr. Castro was always accessible to any questions or concerns that I had. That means a lot when going through open heart surgery.
I had an excellent surgical experience with Dr. Luis Castro and his team at Sequoia Hospital. It couldn't have been better!"
-- Nancy Aguayo, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 08/19/2016
"As close to perfect as one can get. Dr. Castro is absolutely superb both as a surgeon and aa a caring and friendly person. I have already recommended him to a friend who is having the same procedure with him."
-- Don Yates, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/03/2016
"Dr. Castro is a very experienced, knowledgeable surgeon. He has no problem connecting with other doctors if there are other medical issues involved. A very caring and confident surgeon, who is also very likeable and responsive to questions and concerns. I had every confidence in him. He would definitely be my choice again, if I outlive my new valve. And If wearing a bikini is important, he makes the smallest incision, but that scar is a reminder of a new lease on life. Cheers, to a new life experience."
-- Marilyn Canon, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 07/25/2016
"All very positive and am impressed with the skill of Dr. Castro and the Sequoia team."
-- Bastiaan Saarloos, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 07/20/2016
"I am a 52 year old female that exercised regularly and was in good health other than a birth defect with my Aortic Valve. I had an amazing experience! (not that I want to do it again) from my first consultation with Dr. Castro until the end of treatment I was very happy with my surgeon and his team. I always felt like Dr. Castro took time to answer all my questions and never felt rushed by him or staff. He was always accessible to me by phone if something came up. I had discomfort, but not the pain or scar that I was expecting. I kept saying " I sure don't feel like I just had open heart surgery". My incision is only about 3-4 inches long and in only 6 weeks is disappearing quickly. I was out of the hospital in 4 days and walking the neighbor hood after the first week. I would recommend Dr. Castro to anyone that is needing this procedure. "
-- Jill Wood, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/07/2016
"Dr. Castro is great! On our first visit he spent over an hour with my wife and me, describing the procedure he would like to do if possible. After surgery, he spent time with my family explaining the surgery as it occurred. On our follow-up visit he was willing to answer any questions i had and still spent plenty of time with us. My experience with doctors has been they spend a minimum amount of time with there patients. I am thankful we went to Dr. Luis Castro for my surgery. It has been almost 20 weeks since my surgery and I am doing fine."
-- Robert Harper, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 05/22/2016
"Dr. Castro was recommended to me by Dr. Carlson of Fremont, CA to have my aorta valve replaced. The first one was done about 6 years ago and became defective. Once the appointment was made my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Castro, it was a go. We found him very friendly and caring about what was to happen for the surgery. The surgery was done on 4/14/16 with pre-op on the 13th. Everything went well on the surgery date and afterward Dr. Castro met with my husband to tell him everything went well and he said she would live until she was 113 years old.
The complete surgery team were wonderful and made me feel at ease throughout the procedure and the special care they give you in the CCU was excellent.
There was a glitch after surgery. The very next day I experienced no feeling on my left side. Dr. Castro and Dr. Harmon immediately sent me to have a CT scan. It proved that I did not have a stroke and something broke off during surgery. Within a day or two my feeling started to return and totally returned by the time I left the hospital. Due to the complication I was kept in the CCU until 4/19. Each day it was a great feeling of comfort to see the smiling face of Dr. Castro and his loving care. After being sent up to the Cardiac Unit he continued along with Dr. Harmon to see me each day until they dismissed me on 4/25/16. At that time I elected to go to Fremont Health Care for physical therapy.
They provided excellent therapy for physical and respiratory and I progressed very well. Do to the heartbeat they elected to have a pace maker put in for safety reasons on 4/23/16.
The total experience was one not to fear under Dr. Luis Castro's care. I would strongly recommend Dr. Castro to anyone facing this type of surgery. A truly caring and loving man to all his patients.
The Sequoia Hospital provided a room for my husband while I was there. A truly wonderful place to be when the staff does all they can to make their loved ones feel at home."
-- Thelma Jane Miller, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/14/2016
"We traveled from El Paso, Texas to the Bay Area to have this surgery with Dr Castro. My daughter did some research and found Dr. Luis Castro. We had a phone consultation with him and from there we knew that he would be the perfect surgeon for my condition. One day prior to surgery, we had a pre-op visit with him in his office, where much detail was given regarding my aortic valve replacement and CABG with LIMA to the LAD. The surgery went very well and we were discharged on day 5 post-op and traveled home back to Texas on day 7 post-op.
I cannot express my gratitude for Dr Castro's great ability not only as a surgeon, but as a genuine human being that really cares for his patients. All his staff, including Dr Harmon, his PA, and Elizabeth are also amazing. And last, the care at Sequioa Hospital also deserve an A+. It has been a month since my surgery and I feel great, more energized and have started cardiac rehabilitation. My cardiologist here in town was amazed when he saw me 10 days post-op at this office. He says he had never seen such a great incision and he complimented me as to how good I looked. And although I dont plan on having heart surgery any time soon, I would not hesitate to return with Dr Castro in the future. "
-- Mario Quesadilla, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/13/2016
"Pre and post, the surgeon was the best! During the surgery, I was not awake. The outcome exceeded my expectations. I was out of the hospital in four days and walking four miles a day within a week."
-- Willard Nutting, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/13/2016
"I was impressed with Dr. Castro because he is very personable and very attentive to my situation. He answered all my questions and offered information that put me at ease. And, I was comfortable and confident of his surgical capabilities and skills.
He replaced my aortic valve and also took the initiative to repair an aortic root aneurysm. My recovery was routine at the hospital as well as at home. I was walking over one mile daily after four weeks and I will be back at playing regular golf in four months.
I believe Dr. Castro is one of the best heart surgeons in the country and has performed thousands cardiac surgeries The surgery well and much better than I expected. I had no issues or complications and my outcome was great. Dr. Castro's staff and the nurses were very capable and professional. The Sequoia Hospital Heart Center is new, bright, cheery, very clean and well maintained.
If you need heart surgery, there are none better than Dr. Castro and Sequoia Hospital. "
-- Jerry Hromyko, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 04/07/2016
"This was my second bypass surgery, the first with the Sequoia Hospital and this team of doctors. From the first meeting with Dr. Castro & Dr. Harmon, they put me at ease. Their bedside manner was excellent! They were very informative and answered all the family's questions. My results were phenomenal, my recovery was much quicker than the first time around; and I truly feel it was because of this excellent medical team. I would recommend them to anyone having heart surgery."
-- Janice Rogers, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/03/2016
"I whole-heartedly recommend Dr. Luis Castro to anyone who needs to undergo heart surgery. Dr. Castro is competent, caring, and genuine. It's been just over 3 months since my open-heart surgery, which involved aortic valve replacement as well as replacement of a section of the aorta due to aneurysm. I have started my weekend hikes already, and the shortness of breath is all gone!"
-- Javad Khakbaz, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 03/30/2016
"Dr. Castro is, in my opinion, an excellent surgeon who also took time to alleviate my worries about my procedure before surgery. His surgical procedure allowed me a short recovery time and his caring manner was a comfort to me through the whole procedure. A true professional and a nice person."
-- Ken Kuchta, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 03/25/2016
"Dr. Castro is an outstanding surgeon. In meeting with Dr. Castro, in advance of surgery, he explained in an easy to understand manner the entire process of why I need an Aortic Valve replacement, how the surgery would be performed, post surgery support and needs and answered all my questions. His personal and professional style provided me with a high level of confidence with the surgery, His post surgery visits in the hospital were very comforting in reviewing the results of the surgery, which were a total success. His style is refreshing, uplifting and left me feeling great about everything, I highly recommend Dr Castro as the surgeon of choice regarding heart surgery, an outstanding surgeon and person."
-- Joseph Pietro, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 03/24/2016
"I experienced the best surgical results. Perfect!"
-- Rodger Simonian, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/08/2016
"Dr. Castro provided me with a surgical experience that can only be described as awesome. The pre-op meeting with him was explanatory and comforting (for my husband as well as for me). His entire team, including his associate Dr. Harmon, inspired confidence and provided necessary information before and after surgery. The Cardiac Unit at Sequoia Hospital is a new and a state-of-the-art facility with a friendly and efficient support staff. Dr. Castro is a delightful gentleman and I am very grateful to him and his entire staff for giving me a new lease on life! "
-- Dana Weir, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/14/2016
"This was my third major surgery in my 91 years and by far the easiest. My motto has been to find the best surgeon and hospital and then follow their instructions. Dr. Castro is an excellent surgeon and staff manager. Always ready to answer questions and give good advice. When I told him at a post op meeting that I had no pain at any time he said that was not unusual for someone my age. Thanks! The attention and comfortable support of the hospital staff was outstanding and led to what turned out to be a most rapid recovery backed up by 10 days at a skilled nursing facility near home after 8 days at Sequoia Hospital. I'm all set now with Dr. Castro's 20 year guarantee."
-- Bruce Oliver, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/14/2016
"I had my first AVR in 09/2011, I was born with a bicusbid aortic valve that required replacement at age 53, I went with a Medtronic Mosaic Porcine valve that my body subsequently clotted 4.2 years later, hence, my second AVR in 4.2 years was 01/06/16. I went with a Bovine valve this time, and they have me on Warfarin for six months even though it is not a mechanical valve.
Dr. Castro, Medical Director, Cardiac Surgery at Sequoia Hospital Redwood City Ca., Who insist you call him by his first name Luis, is an outstanding surgeon with the demeanor of your "Best Friend", excellent bedside manor, very approachable and easy to talk to. Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City Ca. is highly renowned for their excellent outcome history with AVR and many other cardiothoracic surgeries.
Having been through this twice at Sequoia Hospital in 4.2 years, I can confidently say that Dr. Castro, his team and Sequoia Hospital are truly a medical "Dream Team".
If I ever have to revisit this process again, it will only be with Dr. Castro and the Sequoia team.....I thank God for all of them."
-- Dennis Orsag, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 01/06/2016
"Dr. Luis Castro is awesome! Very gentle bedside manner and explains everything very clearly. Truly very caring. I feel like a brand new person, better than I've felt in years! Post op follow-up is awesome too!"
-- Deborah Saenz, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 12/02/2015
"I recommend going to the Sequoia Hospital website and view Dr. Castro's videos. I believe they are also on you-tube. I watched his videos and liked him immediately. When I met him in person I was pleased that he matched the expectations I had made about him. Great communication skills, excellent bedside manner, and an excellent experienced heart valve surgeon. That is not me saying that, but it is what everyone at the hospital told me that when they found out who my surgeon was... I do have to agree."
-- Bruce Gallmeyer, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 11/30/2015
"Thank God I found Dr Castro. I traveled from Pennsylvania to San Francisco because I felt comfortable with him. He is the best surgeon and sweetest man. He is always available, His team was great, nurses and hospital all played a part of my outcome and healing! He has been available for me throughout my recovery...I would recommend him to anyone that needs heart surgery! "
-- Jean Knappik, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 11/25/2015
"I found Dr. Luis Castro to be totally professional and a good friend. I highly recommend him."
-- Al Zaninovich, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/27/2015
"The best across the board! Dr. Castro will take the time to give you honest and complete answers."
-- Lee Mortimer, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 10/07/2015
"Dr. Castro did a great job on my heart valves repair. He is also a very caring person, and compared with some other doctors I saw at the Mayo clinic in Arizona, and a surgeon in Stanford, Dr Castro is by far the best. I recommend anyone who needs a reliable and knowledgeable heart surgeon, to seek him out, you can trust him."
-- Langston chinn, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 10/06/2015
"Better treatment than I could ever imagine. Dr Castro always promotes his team at Sequoia Hospital and it shows in the care I received. I was and am still full of confidence in his care. My treatment was an emergency, so I did not have a lot of time to research my doctor and hospital but my cardiologist in San Luis Obispo spoke of both the hospital and Dr Castro in glowing terms. Since my surgery, Dr Castro has stayed closely in touch with me about my recovery. His partner in surgery, Dr Adam Harmon, was also excellent."
-- Maurice Heagren, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 09/16/2015
"One of best hospital experiences of my life. Dr. Castro was very thorough before and after the procedure. He made daily visits during my recovery time in the hospital. He reviewed everything with me on my follow up visit. I was released from the hospital in 4 days, walking day after surgery, and experience almost no pain throughout (pain level 1-3).
I would highly recommend Dr. Castro with no exceptions!"
-- Gregory Clarke, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/16/2015
"From the first visit, Dr. Castro made me feel very comfortable and at ease while explaining entire procedure Dr. Castro and his staff were attentive, friendly, and professional. I had no complications from the surgery and recovery has been very good.
I feel fortunate to have had Dr. Luis Castro as my surgeon."
-- James Piccetti, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/03/2015
"Dr. Luis Castro and his team are amazing!!! From the very first time I watched his YouTube video "Heart Valve surgery: Minimally invasive mitral valve repair" to the first time we met, I knew that Dr. Castro was someone I could trust. This was made more clear after interviewing him and asking him his own questions put forth in the video and my personal questions that I had written down from my research on the topic of Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Proxysmal Afib and the Maze III procedure.
Dr. Castro answered and demonstrated when necessary every question. We also discussed the possibility of a new valve should a repair not be possible. After Dr. Castro's explanations and demonstrations of each valve, I felt very confident in my decision of the Porcine Valve should the need arise. My husband has had three traumatic brain injuries and can sometimes become lost in too much information coming at him too fast, Dr. Castro seemed to sense that my husband needed more time to process what was being said, and so he patiently walked and re-walked us through any part of the conversation that needed repeating. We were so impressed by Dr. Castro that we knew that no one else would be right for the surgery. His knowledge, his experience, his manners, and above all his reasons for being a one hospital surgeon gave us a well-founded sense of peace and assurance that I could place my life in his hands.
It has been five weeks since my surgery and I could not be more pleased with the results or the care that I received and my husband received at Sequoia Hospital and from Dr. Luis Castro."
-- Charlie Orsburn, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 09/02/2015
"Great talented surgeon and a great guy as well. Really cares and is very acessible. I hope I never need him again but I wouldn't think of anyone else touching my heart."
-- HERB POTTER, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/05/2015
"I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Castro and his team. Sunshine and rainbows - outstanding and fantastic!!
Dr. Castro is (in my lay opinion) an extremely skilled, talented surgeon and a wonderful, caring human being. He absolutely put me at ease in advance of the surgery, came by at least daily after surgery and was always available for a consult, question etc. two anecdotes:
1. I was going to get a flu shot a number of weeks after my surgery on a Sunday and realized i should probably check and make sure it was ok to do. I texted dr. castro at 1PM (on a sunday) and he texted back within 5 minutes. the pharmacist and their assistant were amazed that a high-powered surgeon would be that responsive
2. reading my post op report i learned that it took them 35 minutes to do the work on my heart (replace the aortic valve). sometimes i can't even write an email in 35 minutes and Dr. Castro and team did a full valve replacement and restarted my heart in that amount of time!!! And as i learned, the faster you are in and out of surgery, minimizing time under anesthesia and time on bypass, the better off you are.
thank you Dr. Castro!"
-- David Selby, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/16/2015
"I am a central california Dentist who had open heart surgery by Dr. Castro two weeks ago. I have been home for a week and am doing fine. The anxiety of going into this kind of surgery is natural but some thing took place during our pre surgical conference that totally put me at ease. Dr. Castro asked me who my former cardiologist was [before my present one], when I told him he very casually said that he had done open heart surgery on this person a few years ago. That told me volumes. My former cardiologist [who knew them all] choose Dr. Castro for his own surgery. What better recommendation could there be.
The surgery, while complicated, came off without a problem. I am pain free and recovering rapidly. Thank you Dr.Castro and Team."
-- Frank Benneyan, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 02/27/2015
"I highly praise and recommend Dr. Castro as an absolutely excellent surgeon and very fine person. He was extremely attentive to me from prior to my entering the hospital and throughout my stay; then I had several meetings with him and his associate, Dr. Harmon, following my release from the Sequoia Hospital.
This was the most serious experience I've ever had, but I felt very confident and comfortable with Dr. Castro. I give him the highest recommendation possible to anyone facing cardiac-surgery; and if I ever require such a procedure again, I would want Dr. Castro as the surgeon."
-- Charles Senteney, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Bloodless Surgery, 02/24/2015
"Dr. Castro is open, friendly, clear, thorough, warm, professional, and confidence-inspiring. He also was recommended as the best heart surgeon in the Bay Area by two other cardiologists who have no other relationship with him. The team Dr. Castro has assembled is also excellent, including Dr. Harmon, the anesthesiologist, and the Physician's Assistant. I felt the explanations before the surgery and the multiple visits after surgery (in the hospital) were helpful and caring. Given that I required an aortic heart valve replacement, I am very pleased with the pre- and post-treatment I received from Dr. Castro and his team."
-- John Wallace, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/30/2014
"Dr. Castro is the best and most caring doctor I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He worked with my wife and I to patiently explain my condition of "Severe Mitral Regurgitation". He carefully reviewed the echo-cardiograms with me and even drew pictures when I didn't understand an issue related to my Mitral Valve. I was asymptomatic and Dr. Castro answered all of the questions my wife and I had during the 9 months leading to my surgery, even when he knew I was still trying to decide on a heart surgeon to perform my surgery.
I went to see 4 heart surgeons and 3 Cardiologists and after careful review I selected Dr. Castro and Sequoia hospital. The surgery was extremely successful and after 1 day in ICU I was up and walking. Dr. Castro and the staff at Sequoia hospital are extremely professional and very caring. Everyone from the people working to clean, shave, feed and nurse me back to health were extremely attentive and I continue to receive follow up calls at home.
I would highly recommend Dr. Castro and Sequoia hospital for anyone that may need heart valve surgery. He is not only a fantastic surgeon but a very caring person as are his staff at Sequoia hospital."
-- Pat Sarceda, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/14/2014
"Not only is Dr. Luis Castro an incredibly skilled surgeon, he also explained the procedures for replacing my aortic valve and repairing my ascending aortic aneurysm in a way that settled my anxiety and gave me confidence about what was ahead.
He performed this miracle through a 4 1/4 inch incision at the sternum that has resulted in an almost pain-free recovery since leaving the hospital. I haven't taken anything for pain since the third day after discharge.
I have been home for 3 weeks and take several walks every day: the longest is 2.8 miles which takes 48 minutes and the shortest is 20 minutes. (This is a little longer than recommended in the material sent home with me.) The only pain I am having occurs when I cough or sneeze. Thank goodness for the chest pillow and the chest harness given to me!
Dr. Castro's bedside manner and that of the team of care providers who work with him was the most caring and responsive you can imagine. He emphasized to me that the quality and compassion of care after surgery are as important as the surgery itself in giving the patient the best experience possible. It was evident with each and every person who nursed me toward recovery that his commitment to excellence was a culture that everyone involved with cardiac care buys into at Sequoia Hospital!
It felt like I was his only patient in a private hospital catering just to me! He stopped by every day before and after surgery: even on the day that he was called in to deal with an emergency early in the day and didn't finish with the surgery until late in the day. He stopped by to see how I was doing at 11:30 p.m. before leaving for home that night. In addition to that, he made it possible for me to get in touch with him if I had any questions before or after surgery.
While there are no guarantees regarding the outcome of heart procedures, I can guarantee that the likelihood of a great outcome is the highest if Dr. Castro and Dr. Harmon are your surgeons. They did an amazing job of making the surgery and subsequent recovery an almost painless experience. Everything went exactly as Dr. Castro said it would and I am among the 99 plus % who are delighted to be here to share my experience!"
-- Mike Ramsey, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 10/14/2014
"Dr. Castro saved my life. My heart was in such bad shape that I couldn’t take more than a few steps without gasping for breath. I desperately needed an aortic valve replacement.
I found out that Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City is one of the top hospitals in the US for cardiac care, with Dr. Castro heads and shoulders above most cardiac surgeons for the number of heart valves replaced per year with positive outcomes.
Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Castro took the time to explain the procedure in detail and answered all my questions. On September 30, 2014, he replaced my aortic heart valve, and today I am a new man. I would recommend this incredible doctor, and his team of highly skilled professionals, to anyone in need of cardiac care.
-- Ronald Sommer, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 09/30/2014
"I had aortic valve replacement in September of 2014 performed by Dr. Castro. I have had an outstanding experience which I would like to share as it may help others like me.
I was very scared of surgery which was unfortunately unavoidable. As a result, I did a lot of searching, reading and even watching the surgery on YouTube. I spoke to several doctors and surgeons as well.
The key is to find who the best surgeons for this type of surgery is, and Dr. Castro is there in the top 5-10 in the world - or at least among ones I could find or have access too. The hospital where he and his team operate, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, specializes in heart surgery and is rated in top 10 or 15. (Stanford is not even in this group).
To me Dr. Castro is the best surgeon in the world! How do I justify that?
(a) He is very fast. The amount of time you spend on heart/lung machine, while your heart is stopped is very important. (the more time you spent – the more likely you will get out brain damaged). For most surgeons the time your heart is not beating is close to 1hr or more. Dr. Castro did mine in 29 minutes (his average is 30min). I heard the fastest he did is 17 minutes.
(b) Second important point is the team. Dr. Castro has been 15 years at Sequoia and he and his team can read each other’s mind. To be that fast, one needs a good team, and Dr. Castro has that. He is very much liked by his team, his nurses and hospital staff. They love him and this is very important too.
(c) Dr. Castro’s mortality rate in the last 3 years is ZERO. He would not undertake any new procedure unless it has zero mortality rate. He cares about that. Thus, you can be sure that he does not want to ruin his record, so you will be fine. However, the week I was released he operated on 89 year old lady changing both valve: aortic and mitral. This is confidence!
(d) He is very calm and (I heard never loses his temper under pressure). This is very important if things go wrong.
(e) He is not overworked or over-committed, by his choice. He operates Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he is fresh and rested for your surgery. The rest of the days he is seeing patients in the hospital and he and his team were at my bedside every day I was there.
(f) His two anesthesiologists (Dr. Bradly and Dr. Paris) are the two angels. They were extremely important to me as I was not going to go into this surgery, neither willingly (nor alive). They will talk to you, calm you down and suddenly – you wake up - and it is all over!
(g) The care after surgery works very well in Sequoia. I slept most of the time and every time I woke up, I felt stronger. The nurses would take good care of you and I would recommend that you do not have visitors – they may tire you (that may apply even to your wife or husband). You do not need them as you will be totally taken care off by the excellent staff of nurses.
(h) The incision Dr. Castro made is quite small – about 4” and the scar is not very visible. To me this is unimportant, but if you are a lady and care for it – he does a great job with that too.
Finally, Dr. Castro is very approachable, down to earth and very charming. Once you meet him, your heart will tell you: “stop, do not look any further – I want this guy!” He will call you back personally, answer your email and I suspect, if you ask him to give you a ride home from the hospital – he will do it. But please do not! Many people need him critically, so be respectful of his time.
My recovery was fantastic. I heard from Dr. Castro that some people went to meetings 3 weeks after the surgery. The normal recovery time is 6 weeks.
I went to work in 1 week! (not that I did much, but I made the point) However the day after I worked 3 hrs, second week part time, third week overtime and in the fourth week I even picked up another consulting job. (my work is desk / computer job, so not very hard). However, I hope I did beat every record in recovery time!
It has been 5 weeks since my surgery and I feel very strong, walking without getting tired and I have energy like never before. "
-- Vojin G Oklobdzija, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/17/2014
"We expected excellence (my wife was the patient), Dr. Castro and his colleagues delivered it.
We chose to fly in from out of state, based on (a) the world-class morbidity and mortality statistics of this program, (b) the mini-sternotomy option, and (c) the remarkably open and welcoming approach of Dr. Castro and his staff.
Early on Dr. Castro readily accepted our request for a FaceTime interview, answered all of our questions and welcomed follow up contact. His office arranged the angiogram for the day prior to surgery, and arranged housing for us in the Sequoia House. He has remained accessible weeks after the surgery.
As expected (from the level of excellence reflected in the statistics) the entire program was on top of its game. Cardiology, Anesthesia, Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Therapy all delivered top level service.
We were not surprised when immediately after surgery Consumers Reports listed this program as one of only 15 in the country to achieve CR's highest ranking."
-- Ronald Bliss, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 07/02/2014
"I had an aortic valve replacement at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City. I highly recommend doctor Castro and his team. I wanted to have a less invasive procedure if possible, and they are very skilled in the mini-sternotomy. Not all cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are easy to talk to, but Doctor Castro definitely is. Doctor Castro was available for questions before surgery.
He and his team visited at least once a day while I was in the hospital. Although we are from out of town, he has continued to follow up with me and has offered to consult with my local cardiologist.
The nursing staff was also excellent. The facility was a bit dated, but a brand new hospital is set to open very soon, so that will no longer be true.
I am three weeks post surgery and doing very well. "
-- Barbara Hoth, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 07/02/2014
"Dr. Luis Castro performed a repair for my Mitral Valve with Barlow's syndrome using a mini-sternotomy approach this past June, 2014. My surgery was a success due to the skill and care of Dr. Castro.
He is truly an amazing surgeon and I was most fortunate to have been under the care of Dr. Castro and his surgical team!
Dr. Castro, in addition to being a skilled surgeon, is professional, kind, and a truly genuine person. He was very thorough with my care as well as my follow-up care and always listened to all of my concerns.
My experiences with Sequoia Hospital's Cardiac Surveillance Unit, doctors, and nurses, were exceptional. I felt genuinely cared for by the staff. I cannot say enough positive comments about my experience with Dr. Castro, his surgical team and Sequoia Hospital. I would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Castro, his surgical team, and Sequoia Hospital to my family and/or friends."
-- Patricia K., Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 06/14/2014
"My experience with Dr. Castro was, at all stages of my valve repair surgery, outstanding. Prior to surgery, Dr. Castro went above and beyond the call of duty to be available to respond to any and all questions during my fact gathering phase, and he presented the information I requested through clear and supportive communication.
The surgery itself was very successful, thanks to Dr. Castro's approach and to the team that he assembled, and my recovery has been smooth, rapid, and free of complications since my surgery a month and a half ago. Dr. Castro continues to be available for any follow up questions and concerns that I may have, which is a further extension of his caring, patient-centered approach to consultations and treatment.
After conducting extensive research into treatment and caregiver options prior to surgery, I am certain that I made the right choice in selecting Dr. Castro to perform this critical valve repair operation."
-- Paul K., Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 06/03/2014
"Dr. Castro did an excellent job on this AVR and my previous AVR 11 years ago! He made my wife and I very comfortable with my decision on a tissue valve and the surgery!"
-- David Baga, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/20/2014
"In March of 2014, it was time to get my bicuspid arotic valve replaced. My wife is a cath lab nurse and has access to the diffferent heart valves reps and after many conversations and research it was narrowed to two surgeons. Dr. Castro was the second consult I had and we were immediately sold that Dr. Castro would fix my heart.
Dr. Castro took the time to explain the surgery and the options that were available to replace my valve. Dr. Castro erased all the fear I had about having this surgery and I felt like God just provided me a Guardian Angel to prolong my life.
Dr. Castro has an experienced staff that makes you feel like a celebrity and gives you their undivided attention to make sure your stay at the hosptial is first rate. We were so thankful that we found Dr. Castro and he is the only surgeon that I would recommend."
-- David Augustus, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 05/20/2014
"Could not praise Dr. Castro more highly. Very personable in office and hospital, thorough explanation of situation and procedure. Excellent surgical results."
-- Daniel SWISHER, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/08/2014
"Dr. Castro will make you feel like you've known him for a long time. He's very honest about the seriousness of of open heart surgery but his experience and his teams experience is unsurpassed. He talks to you, not at you and he has a wonderful sense of humor. More times than not he will call me if I email him with a question; yes, a phone call. Dr Castro removed my ascending aortic aneurysm and was able to preserve my aortic valve rather then replace it."
-- Jim Ciamarro, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, 08/13/2013
"In my opinion, Dr. Castro is the best cardiac surgeon on the planet. The combination of Dr. Castro and Sequoia Hospital is a team that can't be beat. After the surgery I didn't have even one complication. I actually was released from the hospital a day early, it went that good. I don't care where I'm living in the world if I need another heart related procedure I will seek out Dr. Castro.
I'm riding my dirt bike, jogging and riding my mountain with no issues whatsoever. I feel 20 again. Thanks Dr. Castro. "
-- charles weems, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/11/2013
"A superb Surgeon in every sense of the word! The preparation, the actual surgery, and post-op conduct was exceptional. Doctor Castro is an extremely bright and gifted surgeon with a genuinely humanitarian personality. In my view, a "Star" in the United States!"
-- kent dorwin, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/15/2013
"This was the second cardiac surgery for me. Dr. Luis Castro is arguably the best valve surgeon in the United States. Compared to the first time, this was almost a non-event. Time spent with me, skill level, bedside manner... All outstanding!"
-- mickey king, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 03/22/2013
"Dr. Castro was incredible!"
-- Brian Newkirk, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 03/01/2013
"I can't imagine finding a better surgeon. I would give Dr. Castro an A+ in clinical skills, professionalism, caring, compassion, education & bedside manner."
-- Linda Gaudet, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 11/28/2012
"Dr. Luis Castro and his outstanding team at Sequoia Hospital skillfully repaired my Mitral Valve Prolapse with severe regurgitation in July 2012. Eight months prior to my surgery, Dr. Castro generously met with me for an hour to describe the surgery and patiently responded to my long list of questions with honest and thorough explanations. Within 10 minutes of meeting Dr. Castro, I was confident that he was an extremely skilled and professional surgeon who I could trust with my life without reservation. His confident manner, wonderful bedside manner and fantastic sense of humor helped calm my anxieties and kick start my recovery. Throughout the process Dr. Castro was very personable, credible and empathetic to all of my concerns. I highly recommend Dr. Luis Castro and his exceptional team without hesitation. "
-- Aaron Blum, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 07/19/2012
"Extremely skilled and professional with a great sense of humor to counter my jocular defenses against anxiety (I'm a 70-year old psychologist practicing for 45+ years). I awoke in the ICU to see Dr. Luis Castro standing over me, so I asked him to turn around. A bit perplexed but smiling, he did as I bade. "I don't see wings or a tail," I said, "So, I must still be alive." "I'm afraid so," he smiled. Now, if I have a pork chop, I feel like a cannibal (porcine valve). I recommend him without even the slightest hesitation or qualification."
-- Dr. Joseph Busey, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 07/18/2012
"Dr. Luis Castro, my surgeon, was wonderful, informative, straight forward and very positive. My family loved him, as well, as is staff. Awesome!!"
-- Betty Vieira, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 06/25/2012
"My surgeon was wonderful. Doctor Castro was friendly and informative before the surgery and explained both procedures to me and my husband. He was genuinely concerned about my welfare. I am so glad that my cardiologist in Sonora, California recommended him."
-- Joanne Layne, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 06/14/2012
"Dr. Castro is one of the best surgeons. He has an excellent team at Sequoia Hospital - very warm, confident and caring."
-- Constance Codding, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 06/09/2012
"Dr. Castro has a wonderful bedside manner and incredible surgical skills. He and his team replaced the mitral valve and reconstructed the left atrium due to a very rare tumor."
-- Tracy Collins, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/15/2012
"Dr. Luis Castro is so caring, so nice and so dedicated to your well being. Thank God for doctore like him."
-- Gary Norris, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/26/2012
"Fantastic surgeon, great outcome! Dr. Castro performed my surgery quickly, and without complications, resulting in an easy recovery that exceeded my expectations. His kindness, clear communication and expertise are top notch."
-- Jan Tepper, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/19/2012
"Dr. Castro, my heart surgeon, inspired complete confidence that he was most knowledgeable and experienced and expected no complications whatsoever. I never felt any anxiety before the operation and he was caring and friendly after and left me reassured that all was well."
-- Gladys Francis, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 03/14/2012
"Excellent. I highly recommend Dr Castro."
-- DiMitri Hage, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 02/28/2012
"I had 3 plugged arteries replaced and a valve repaired. I would recommend Dr. Luis Castro very highly. Dr. Castro and the Sequoia Hospital staff gave me "EXCELLENT" care before, during and after surgery. I owe these people my life. "
-- Kenneth Campbell, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, 02/23/2012
"I was blessed to have been recommended to Dr. Luis Castro and his staff. I'm thankful for their knowledge and advanced skill in valve repair and valve replacement. I was born with a genetic bicuspid valve disorder. Dr. Castro and his team have allowed me to enjoy my family and continue along with my carrier and activities, free of Coumadin, when I had been told other options were not available to me. "
-- Christopher Watkins, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 02/23/2012
"I was very pleased with the results. I thought Dr. Luis Castro's bedside manner was excellent, as well as his pre-surgery information."
-- Marilyn Bolei, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 02/09/2012
"Dr. Castro was brilliant in his repair of my mitral valve. Where others wanted to replace the valve, he was able to repair it. Given that I was in my mid-fifies, this has saved me repeat open heart surgery(s) and a lifetime of anti-coag drugs.
When I first met Dr. Castro, he came to the waiting lobby to greet me. I have never had a physician come personally to the lobby. He was kind and took the time needed to explain options to my husband and me. He is genuine in his care for the patient.
I have had no post surgical problems related to the valve and it's been a few years now. I can do rigorous cardio work-outs, and live a normal life.
I would recommend Dr. Castro without any hesitation. "
-- Leslie Rose, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/06/2012
"My surgical result has been very satisfactory. Dr. Castro and his team were great."
-- Dorayne Likely, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 01/24/2012
"Dr. Castro and his entire team are splendid in all regards."
-- Dean Forbes, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/09/2012
"Complete trust and faith is not easy to come by, within 10 minutes of meeting Dr. Luis Castro he had mine. From his patience in answering all our questions, to making a hard decision feel 100% right, and putting me at ease-a short 36 hours later I walked into surgery (mitral valve repair/annuloplasty/right thoracotomy) prepared and confident. When considering a heart surgeon ask all the questions-number of surgeries, outcomes, etc. Dr. Castro answered it all with a reassuring voice, kind smile, and you know you are in the best highly skilled hands. I never felt like a statistic or just another patient in his care. If I was to need surgery again, there would be no doubt I would only want Dr. Castro leaving his fingerprints on my heart."
-- Shelly Gould, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/14/2011
"Dr. Luis Castro is amazing. He did my surgery with his team and now, a week out, I'm still feeling no pain. I have not even been uncomfortable.
But as wonderful as his magic hands is his ability to communicate. He does so readily and enthusiastically. Thanks to Luis, I'm on my way to a quick, full recovery."
-- Alfred Kildow, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 09/29/2011
"My case required immediate valve replacement surgery. Dr. Luis Castro went out of his way to ensure that I was transported to the best location possible and scheduled right away. His confident and calm manner provided me with a high level of comfort in a situation where I did not have a lot of energy or time to digest all of the details. He has always responded to my questions with honest and thorough explanations. If you want the best outcome along with a cardiac surgeon who possesses a great bedside manner, the choice is Dr. Luis Castro. I highly recommend him.
-- Patrick C., Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/01/2010
"Mitral valve prolapse was preventing me from pursuing my passion for hiking. A cardiac surgeon in my home city referred me to Dr. Luis Castro because he felt that Dr. Castro’s expertise at mitral valve repair using a mini-incision technique would get me back on the trails faster than if the surgery were done locally with a standard sternotomy. Dr. Castro quickly recognized that quality of life was my paramount goal. Dr. Castro is personable and caring, and I believe that the systematic procedures followed by his surgical team virtually eliminate risk of infection. I was thrilled that he accepted me as a patient. After discharge from the hospital, I followed Dr. Castro’s instructions to the letter. I am extremely impatient when it comes to being sidelined by illness, and thought the first four weeks of recovery were agonizingly slow. Both my cardiologist and primary care physician disagreed with me, saying they were delighted by the surgical results and my progress. They were right, because I was back hiking in the Sierra Nevada only eight weeks after surgery."
-- Ken Klug, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 08/23/2010
"I highly recommend Dr. Luis Castro and his team at Sequoia Hospital. In March of 2010, Dr. Castro and staff successfully repaired my Mitral Valve Prolapse (severe regurgitation causing an enlarged left atrium) condition. At the end of 2 months of my recovery, I was close to 100%. Dr. Castro and staff kept me informed every step of the way. Dr. Castro is very personable, credible and empathetic to all of my issues and concerns. He followed up with me as I was conducting my due diligence prior to the surgery and continued checking in with me months following the surgery. As a professional service provider myself (attorney), I strive to provide the same care and service that Dr. Castro has provided to me as his patient."
-- Brian R, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 03/10/2010
"Perfect, under the circumstances. All our doctors were professional, direct and we will be forever grateful for their dedication and knowledge for the miracle they gave us. The A-Team was led by Dr. Luis Castro."
-- Jo Ann Bunton, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 10/16/2009
"My experience was very positive. As a 65 year old patient, I should have been nervous but Dr. Luis Castro made me feel very much at ease about of the procedure. The operation and recovery could not have gone better. I am back to running 20 miles a week at the same speed as I did well before the operation."
-- Vallangiman Srinivasan, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 10/09/2009
"I recommend Dr. Luis Castro without reservation.
-- Martin Harband, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, 05/11/2009
> See 75 more patient testimonials
"Superbly knowledgeable and superb bedside manner. I went from totally nervous to completely confident within a half hour of our first meeting. Fast recovery with a small scar (with glued rather than stitched edges -- barely noticeable under a medium-hairy chest). Couldn't of been more impressed by Dr. Luis Castro or happier with the result. I got a Medtronic Porcine valve, so I'll need to have a new one in 10 to 20 years; I'll be going back to Dr. Castro, and I can't give a better recommendation than that. Facilities and staff at Sequoia Hospital were TERRIFIC. I felt like I was in excellent hands from my arrival to my departure 4 days later. "
-- Eddie Williams, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 11/08/2008