Thanks To Dr. Accola, Scott Gets Successful Valve Reoperation

By Adam Pick on April 10, 2010

Sometimes, the patient success stories I receive are so interesting, they need no introduction. That said, I hope you enjoy Scott’s unique story:

Hello Adam,

I have had the intention of writing you numerous times and something always seemed to come up and delay my writing. But today is the day! It is also 2 weeks since my surgery and I feel great!


Scott Neiman, Aortic Valve Replacement Patient
Scott With Lindsey, Nick and Fred (the Teddy Bear)


First of all let me address the number one reason I am writing to you.  It is to say a BIG THANK YOU!  Thank you Adam for not only your book but also your website and blog. I have spent much time reading and researching all three for the last month and a half. It is also the first place I came across Dr. Kevin Accola, the surgeon I would ultimately chose to do my aortic valve replacement.

Let me give you a little background. My name is Scott Nieman. I am 42 years old. I was born in 1967 with aortic stenosis. Back then, the doctors did not operate on infants so it was not until I was 12 years old, and my condition became life-threatening, that they decided to operate.

I was fortunate to have one of the top surgeons in the country (Dr. Arthur DeBoer) operate on me at the first hospital in the Chicago area to have a dedicated intensive care unit just for heart patients (St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois).

Doctor DeBoer was able to repair the aortic valve by simply cutting the three leaflets to a full open position. This resolved the problem of stenosis. But, over time, aortic regurgitation became my new problem. The doctors back then estimated that I would need to have my aortic valve replaced by the time I was 30 years old. Well, I made it to 42. But, the time had come to replace the worn out valve which had also become bicuspid due to two of the leaflets growing together.


Bicuspid Aortic Valve Diagram Showing Tissue Cusps


That is where you come into the picture. As I began to do research on the Internet about aortic valve replacement surgery, I came across your website and ordered your book.  I was very impressed with the quick delivery and it arrived just in time because I was very nervous about the upcoming surgery. Your book was a tremendous help and I am grateful that you wrote it. It helped not only me but also my parents as well.


Dr. Kevin Accola, Heart Valve Surgeon
Kevin Accola – Scott’s Heart Valve Surgeon


I chose to go with Dr. Kevin Accola and his wonderful team that assists him in the surgery including — Dr. Mike Butkus (who has been Dr. Accola’s Surgical PA for the last 17 years) and Denise Mouad. Both Dr. Accola and Dr. Butkus were very professional with a warm and friendly bedside manner. I could not have asked for a better team!

After much discussion before the surgery, we decided to go with a pericardial tissue valve. The main reason for this choice was to avoid being on Coumadin the rest of my life. I will put my trust in this second generation of tissue valves that now have a potential life expectancy of 20 years. A lot of advancement in surgery and medicine can happen in 20 years.

Thankfully, the surgery was “normal” with no heart valve surgery complications and I was out of the hospital four days later. With the exception of a few minor hiccups (elevated blood pressure, slight fever and an irregular heart beat due to inflammation around my heart – all resolved quickly by changes in medication) my recovery at home has been great.  I got to be home for my daughters birthday. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!

Again Adam, THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for your heart valve surgery book and all that you have done for this community.

Your fellow Heart Valve Surgery brother,
Scott Nieman

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Fran Zilko says on April 10th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I believe Dr Accola also did Duane’s surgery and Duane had nothing but praise for him. I echo everything Scott had to say about you, Adam. I went into my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic (Dr Gillinov) armed with so much information. The people I have met on the journal have been the kindest most encouraging people ever. Have met Capt’n Bill and Duane in person and what an honor. Scott, am not aware you ever posted your story in the HVJ, but sounds like you have done so well. Can’t say enough thank yous to you, Adam.

Richard Spolar says on April 10th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

That is great Scott, I had my aortic valve replaced with a pericardial tissue valve, made by Edwards Lifesciences. My reason was to not be on Coumadin forever!! I was extremely scared going in but now I feel great! Dr. Accola’s staff and him were amazing and friendly from Scheduling Nurse Annette to Dr. Mike Butkus. I feel so much better that I am not a walking time bomb waiting to see how big my heart will get. I hope you feel as great as I do with your new valve!

Duane Hunt says on April 10th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Scott, great to hear your story! Dr. Accola did my mitral valve repair on 1/28, so I am 10 weeks post-op. I can’t sing the praises enough of Dr. Accola, his staff, and the nurses and care at Florida Hospital. May God continue to give you complete healing. Adam, thanks for sharing Scott’s story.

Duane Hunt, FL

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