Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Stories of 2013

By Adam Pick on December 30, 2013

During 2013, our patient and caregiver community actively discussed many topics specific to the treatment of heart valve disease. As we prepare to enter 2014, I thought it might be helpful — for all of us — to look back at those stories that generated the most interest and social sharing during the past twelve months.



So… Without further ado… Here are your Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Stories of 2013:


#10 – What Determines the Transfemoral or Transapical Approach for TAVR?

The use of transcatheter medical devices for aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation continued to be a hot topic during 2013 — especially for patients that are high risk or inoperable. So, with 97 Facebook Likes, “What Determines the Transfemoral or Transapical Approach for TAVR?” came in tenth spot on our list.



#9 – Coach John Fox Scheduled for Aortic Valve Replacement

Over the years, we have seen many public figures require heart valve operations — including Barbara Walters, Robin Williams, and Barbara Bush. In November, we learned that Coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos needed immediate aortic valve replacement surgery after experiencing serious symptoms during a golf game with friends. The interesting details of “John Fox, Denver Broncos Head Coach, Scheduled For Aortic Valve Replacement” generated 113 Facebook Likes and the ninth position on our list.



#8 – Surgeon Q&A: Understanding Aortic Aneurysms with Dr. Roselli

Many patients in our community suffer from other cardiac conditions in addition to heart valve disease. This year, we developed educational materials for these cardiac issues which include coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aortic aneurysms. To learn more about aortic aneurysms, I filmed a video with Dr. Eric Roselli, a leading heart surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic. With 126 Facebook Likes, “Surgeon Q&A: Understanding Aortic Aneurysms” is our eighth most shared post during 2013.



#7 – Why Is The Mitral Conclave So Important?

In July, I traveled to the Mitral Conclave, a special conference in which over 1,000 surgeons and cardiologists gather to discuss the latest strategies and techniques for treating mitral valve disease. To help our community understand the importance of this event, I filmed “Why is the Mitral Conclave So Important for Patients, Cardiologists & Surgeons?”. This video garnered 131 Facebook Likes and the seventh position on our list.



#6 – What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Mitral Valve Repair Patients?

There is nothing better than great advice for the medical treatment of health-related issues. For that reason, I filmed a video with Dr. David Adams titled, “What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Mitral Valve Repair Patients?”. With 134 Facebook Likes, this video was widely appreciated by the patients and the caregivers in our community.



#5 – Inside the Operating Room: A Robotic Mitral Valve Repair

In September, I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to observe a robotic mitral valve repair surgery performed by Dr. Clifton Lewis. The experience was captured on video and posted at “Inside the Operating Room: A Robotic Mitral Valve Repair with Dr. Lewis”. This post had 143 Facebook Likes and is the fifth most shared story during 2013.



#4 – Webinar Announcement: The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair

During 2013, our community connected for three, real-time learning sessions known as webinars. When we announced our first webinar, “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair”, our patients and caregivers quickly responded to the opportunity for a live connection with Drs. Anyanwu and Varghese. You can now download a free 52-page eBook of this event by clicking here.



#3 – After Traveling from Louisville to Los Angeles, Nathan & I Connect

In August, I learned that Nathan Higginbotham was traveling from Louisiana to Los Angeles for a heart valve procedure by Dr. Vaughn Starnes, my surgeon. To meet Nathan and his family, I drove to USC Medical Center shortly after his procedure. The story, “After Traveling from Louisville to Los Angeles… After A Valve Sparing Procedure… Nathan & I Connect”, received 165 Facebook Likes.



#2 – Aortic Stenosis Visualized

The use of infographics is a new and effective way to educate anybody about anything. For that reason, I designed an infographic about aortic stenosis to see how our community would respond to this unique style of online learning. To my surprise, “Aortic Stenosis Visualized… For You, Your Family & Friends” received 347 Facebook Likes and 139 Tweets — positioning it as the number two story on our list.



#1 – Special Patient Update: AJ’s Wish Comes True

And, finally… In November, I was very lucky to participate in my first Make-A-Wish event for AJ Iqueda, a five-year heart valve patient who has already had three open heart procedures and a CHARGE Syndrome diagnosis. The story, “Special Patient Update: AJ’s Wish Comes True”, quickly became the number one post of 2013 — with over 1,097 Facebook Likes. If you have yet to learn about AJ’s story, I encourage you to watch the video below.



Well… There you have it. Our top ten posts of 2013. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please click the “Facebook Like” button to help your friends and family learn more about heart valve disease and treatment.

On that note, I would like to thank all of the patients, the caregivers, the doctors, the nurses, the clinical teams and our sponsors for making this another wonderful year. As we enter 2014, I want to wish all of you a very, very, very happy new year!

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 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.

Bill K (Australia) says on January 1st, 2014 at 7:58 am

It is now 3 weeks since I had my Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement at The Royal Perth Hospital under Dr Gerald Yong….It went well. I only spent 2 nights in the CCU after the procedure and was then deemed fit to return to my home on the basis of observing
proper after care instructions. I am now 88 years of age and while I felt the lack of energy over the first two weeks, I am now feeling much like my old self (of some months ago).
Reading Adam’s Book progessively kept me well informed as to what happening ( I had over 4 weeks of various tests,X-rays,Echos etc) The bruising has almost disappeared and I now feel confident that I can drive my car without any problem.Have also gradually increased the distance that I walk each day.However still have a rest each afternoon.
I believe that open heart surgery would have been very risky for me

Eloise c says on January 16th, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Adam, I read your book prior to my avr surgery dec. 4 . It was very helpful . I had to stay in ICU a total of 4 days due to “vasoplegia” and atrial flutter . I had a bovine valve and still went home on coumadin. I did not receive a blood transfusion, had a hemoglobin of 7.9 and have lost 25 #s with no appetite 6 weeks out . I am 66 y.o. But experience was WAY tougher than I thought.

Barbara Barry says on May 25th, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hello Adam,

I am emailing you to see if you may have some information for my present condition.

In 1995, at almost 63 years old, I received a St. Jude mechanical value to replace my Aortic Valve…I need to take Coumadin every day. I have been recently told after many different tests that my St Jude mechanical valve is now defective and while still working, is slowly failing.

I was scheduled for surgery but the surgeon cancelled the operation at the last minute…I feel that at age 81, the decision to cancel probably took my age into consideration..

Are you aware of any new procedures for my situation? I was told the replacement surgery would be very complicated.

I live in the New Haven, CT area and there are a couple of very good heart surgeons at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I wonder, though, if I should look elsewhere for the surgery.

Many thanks for any thoughts you may have.

Barbara Barry

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