Beyond The David Procedure For… David

After two heart surgeries in six days (yes, you read that right), David Barnes has quite the tale to tell. That said, I thought you might like to hear more about this inspirational and educational patient success story.

Dear Adam,

I had my heart surgery on March 25, 2008 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. My surgeon, Dr. Fehrenbacher, replaced a dilated ascending aorta (5.3cm) and repaired an old descending aorta coarctation repair from 1972. I also had the David Procedure – aortic root replacement without replacement of the aortic valve.

On March 31st, just six days later, I required a second surgery (a Ross Procedure with a synergraft pulmonary valve from Cryolife), because the David Procedure failed.

David Barnes - David Procedure Patient
David, With Wife Annie, On Vacation In
Naples, Florida After Two Heart Surgeries

Although the David Procedure failed I was well aware of the risks. There are no guarantees in any surgery and sometimes when things don’t work out patients may look to assign blame. I preferred the David Procedure because I thought that it was best to keep my own parts if possible.

Needless to say, I was not a model patient. But, as they say, “All’s well that ends well!” My only major complication was that I had post-operative edema which looked pretty funny on me.

After being in the hospital for two weeks, I am now eleven weeks post-second surgery and feeling great during the recovery. I went back to work after seven weeks – the first week back I went half-days. As for meds, I am on 100 milligrams of metoprolol and a daily baby asprin. I hope to ween off metoprolol in six months.

As I previously shared, my cardiothoracic surgeon was Dr. John Fehrenbacher who was excellent! I would recommend him to all heart surgery patients.

John Fehrenbacher - Heart Surgeon
Dr. John Fehrenbacher – David’s Heart Surgeon

So you know, I used your book quite a bit. First of all, it helped me get a handle on what to expect. It really helped me deal with the initial shock and fear of surgery. Once I was over that hurdle, I used the book to help learn how to find a surgeon and what questions to ask. I am glad I found you on the internet.

FYI, I was asymptomatic when they discovered the aneurysm. I like to ski and play basketball. I eat very well and exercise a lot. So other than the aneurysm, I was a really healthy guy.

As for surgical options, my first choice was the David Procedure. My second choice was the Ross Procedure. My third choice was a mechanical valve. Ultimately, I knew that it would be a game time decision for Dr. Fehrenbacher – once he got in there and had a look around.

I did a lot of research on my surgeon prior to scheduling the surgery. I was lucky that I knew a lot of people who where physicians or hospital administrators that I could talk to. I also knew a number of cardiovascular medical device sales reps who were very valuable in providing information. Unlike physicians, they had no problem giving me very direct assessments. I checked out the surgeons from many different sources. So, when I had to have the second surgery, I never had to worry about whether I had the right surgeon.

My point is, as I am sure you know, even with the best surgeon and healthiest patient there are inherent risks and, by definition, sometimes they happen.

I hope this is helpful and thanks again for writing your book!


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

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.

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