Special Post: Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2011!

By Adam Pick on December 28, 2011

During the past twelve months, this global community of patients and caregivers actively discussed many topics that have impacted our heart valve surgery experiences. As the year winds down, I thought it might be helpful to review all of these posts and highlight the top 10 stories that garnered the most attention during 2011.

Top 10 List Icon

So, without further ado, here are your “Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2011”:


10. Much of our ongoing discussions focus on the proper management of patient expectations before, during and after surgery. To to help Denise prepare for her mitral valve repair surgery, we answered her question, “Do All Patients Get A Cardiac Catheterization Prior To Heart Valve Surgery?”. With over 25 comments from our community, this post was very helpful to Denise and many other patients preparing for surgery.



9. An interesting question from Alice about the recovery from heart valve surgery also generated a significant amount of traffic. In “What Are Those BIG Heart Shape Pillows Used For?”, Dr. Eric Roselli offered some clinical insights about these humongous, red pillows given to patients after surgery.


Patients With Red Pillows


8. During 2011, several heart valve surgeons answered questions submitted by our patients and caregivers. In particular, Jake’s question, “Can Sternum Wires Cause Chest Pain Two Years After Surgery?” triggered a fantastic, online conversation with over 30 patient responses.


Photo Of Xray Of Sternum With Sternal Wires


7. Patients requiring heart valve surgery typically fall into a mature age category, ranging from 50 to 70 years of age. However, as we have seen over-and-over-and-over again, heart valve surgery may be required for babies, children, teens, octogenarians and even centenarians. In March of this year, we closely watched the progress of Sarah Weir, a five-year old from New York who needed mitral valve surgery. In “Sarah is ‘Mad as Hell’ But Doing Great After Heart Valve Surgery”, our community was excited to learn of Sarah’s successful procedure.


Photo Of Girl In Hospital After Heart Surgery


6. Patients with heart valve disorders that can not be repaired must evaluate their heart valve replacement options. In “What Is The Best Heart Valve Replacement For My 16-Year Old Son”, Dr. Lucas Collazo helped Carole better understand the pros and cons of mechanical and biological valves for her son. With over 30 comments, our community also helped Carole better understand the key factors of this very important decision.


Image Of Different Types Of Heart Valve Replacements


5. At the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons (AATS) conference in Philadelphia, I was able to meet with Dr. Patrick McCarthy to discuss Donny’s question, “Is It Common For Patients With Mitral Regurgitation To Have Atrial Fibrillation?”. Since posting, this video interview has been seen thousands of times.


4. For female patients with heart valve disorders, pregnancy is an ongoing topic of interest within our community. This year, “With A Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Sara Prepares To Become A Mommy” generated significant interest and discussion.


Man & Wife In Wine Fields


3. Many patients with severe heart valve disease can be asymptomatic. Given this awkward situation, we asked Dr. David Adams the question, “Should Asymptomatic Patients With Moderate To Severe Mitral Regurgitation Have Surgery?”, during the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) conference in San Diego.


2. Our patient and caregiver community is very interested in the technological advances that enhance heart valve treatment. That said, “Special Update: SAPIEN Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Gets FDA Approval For Inoperable Patients” triggered a swell of traffic on our servers when published on November 3, 2011.


1. The number one post for 2011 is somewhat counter-intuitive…

  • It’s not a patient success story.
  • It’s not a video.
  • It’s not about technology.
  • It’s not a surgeon response to one of your questions.

Interestingly, the number one post for 2011 is “Do You Have Any Questions For The World’s Leading Heart Valve Surgeons?”. I posed this question to our community prior to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons convention on January 28, 2011. Shortly after posting, over 100 patient questions were submitted online.

It was great to get that response. But, what happened next was even better… This post triggered an idea to film the surgeon responses at STS and other cardiac conferences. Since then, we have created over 50 videos, many of which will be released early next year.


Ipad Image With Videos Embedded


As you can see above, I have been very lucky to interview several heart valve specialists including Dr. Craig Smith, Dr. Marc Gillinov, Dr. Steven Bolling, Dr. Larry Cohn, Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Dr. Richard Shemin, Dr. Kevin Accola, Dr. Vaughn Starnes, Dr. Niv Ad, Dr. Lars Svensson and many others.

I just checked our YouTube channel. Thus far, these surgeon interviews have been watched over 32,000 times through YouTube alone.

  • To watch any or all of these videos, simply click here.

So, there you have it… The Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2011!!!

Thanks again for all your incredible participation at this website. Our growing community of patients and caregivers never ceases to impress and inspire me.

May your new year be filled with millions and millions of healthy heartbeats!!!

Keep on tickin!

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 HeartValveSurgery.com 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 HeartValveSurgery.com 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 says on December 28th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Thanks Adam, none of it would be possible without YOU! Happy new year.

Diane Horsak says on December 28th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Thank you all for the inputs. Before I found this blog I felt so alone. Now I know there are others that have some of the same problems I have and I know many times I’m not crazy after all. It will be 4 years in March that I got my cow(bovine) and shes still ticking even after I drive her crazy sometimes with my fears she keeps going. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL & THE BEST OF HEALTH. Still ticking thank you again. Diane

Pat says on December 28th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I have been following this blog for almost a year. It will be 5 years in March that I had mitral valve repair surgery done robotically at Loyola Medical Center. I am doing fine but at times when I realize what I went through I still get weak in the knees. Your blog has helped me through some rough times and I am very grateful. Thanks, Adam. Keep up the good work! Happy New Year! Pat

Rob Oliver says on December 28th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Happy holidays Adam, and thanks for the blog posts and the online community this year. It’s been just over a year since my surgery – aortic valve replacement and triple bypass – and I am doing well. It’s been quite a year.

Carole Lombard says on December 29th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Great to see my question about our 16 year old son made the top 10 list for 2011 (#6). Ian (who is now 17) successfully had his aortic valve replaced with a tissue valve (cow valve) in August. He recovered well and went back to his senior year in high school 3 weeks after surgery. Thank you so much for your blogs and all the info that you post. It helped myself and Ian to understand more about his surgery & heart. Happy New year to you!

Doris Taylor-Marcus says on December 30th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Dear Adam, I am 8 weeks and 1 day Post Op. I had the Aortic Valve replaced (Bovine). I also ended up with a Pace Maker and spent a total of 13 days in the hospital. I am doing well, now. I want you to know, had it not been for your Book and Blog I would have been completely in the dark. Education Pre and Post Op were non existant. My family had very little communication concerning my condition during my stay. I plan to begin Cardiac Rehab in Jan. Please let the Surgeons know how important Education and Communication is for both patient and family. Doris E. Taylor-Marcus

fat grafting says on December 30th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

In recent years there has been a wealth of attempts to deliver various stem cell types to patients after myocardial infarction. Some have had modest positive results. Bone marrow stem cells have been shown to increase contractility and improve heart muscle oxygenation and increased patients’ exercise tolerance. There is an increased interest in C-Kit+ cells which are multipotent and can give rise to endothelial, myocardial and smooth muscle cells.

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