Surgeon Q&A: “Does One Valve Surgery Lead To Another?” asks Melanie

At the awesome Heart Valve Summit, I received a bunch of great questions for our ‘Ask Me Anything’ video series. For example, Melanie-Ann asked me, “If one valve has been replaced… Does it make it more likely that another valve will have to be repaired or replaced later on?”

To answer Melanie-Ann’s question, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. Glenn Barnhart, who is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery and Executive Director of Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute in Seattle, Washington. So you know, Dr. Barnhart is a valve specialist having completed over 2,000 procedures. In our community, Dr. Barnhart has successfully treated patients including Marjorie Peterson, Rob Fairchild and Michael Marthaller. 🙂

Here’s the highlights from my chat with Dr. Barnhart…

Many thanks to Melanie-Ann for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Glenn Barnhart for sharing his clinical experiences and research with our community!

Keep on tickin!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a transcript of the video with Dr. Barnhart below.

Adam: Hi, everybody! It’s Adam with We’re in Chicago, Illinois at the Heart Valve Summit. I’m thrilled to be with Dr. Glenn Barnhart who’s the Chief of Cardiac Surgery. He’s also the Executive Director at Swedish Heart Institute in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Barnhart, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Glenn BarnhartDr. Glenn Barnhart – Heart Surgeon

Dr. Barnhart: Adam, thanks for having me.

Adam: As you all know, we’re answering your questions that were submitted at our Facebook page. This question comes in from Melanie-Ann. She asks, “If one valve has been replaced, does it make it more likely that another valve will have to be repaired or replaced later on?”

Dr. Barnhart: That’s a very good question, Melanie. It requires a few moments to talk about the etiology of problems with valves. Most valves fall into a category of being based upon a general problem, so people are usually born with their valve disease. An example of that would be patients who have a bicuspid aortic valve, when you have two leaflets rather than three. That leads in adulthood and later on in life to need to have replacement of that.

Also, patients who have mitral valve disease usually have a congenital problem with that, and over time they develop mitral valve prolapse requiring, in today’s world, repair. However, patients can also have infectious problems or inflammatory problems. Not as common as the other two categories that I just talked about, but for instance patients who have pneumatic valve disease. They will typically have multiple valve problems with that. Also, patients who have an infectious origin, specifically bacterial endocarditis can have infection on multiple valves.

In answer to the question, most commonly it’s just an isolated valve but if it’s infectious or inflammatory, then it can be multiple valves and can require surgery, either concomitantly, meaning at the same time as the primary valve, or at a later time.

Adam: Great. Well Dr. Barnhart, thanks so much for that explanation. We really appreciate it. Thanks for coming by and giving all the great care to our community and patients out there who are seeing you up in Seattle. Thanks so much.

Dr. Barnhart: Thank you, Adam.

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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