Top 10 Heart Valve Stories of 2015!
By Adam Pick on December 31, 2015
2015 was another amazing year for our community!
As we prepare to enter 2016, I thought it might be helpful (and fun) to look back at the stories that inspired us, educated us and moved us to share our heart valve experiences.
10. The Heart Valve Summit Gets Big Applause
In October, we were very lucky to attend the Heart Valve Summit, a special conference where 500+ surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, and medical professionals gather to discuss the latest therapies to treat heart valve disease. When we posted several pictures from the 3-day event in Chicago, our community quickly responded with appreciation and thankfulness as 950+ people ‘Liked’ our photos at Facebook. To see the photos, click here.
9. Linda Returns To Her Garden!
There is nothing better than a great patient success story. So, in February, our video team traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to meet Linda Kincaid and her daughter, Kristen. This educational video was sponsored by the Alliance for Aging Research which recently launched LivingWithValveDisease.0rg, a new website for seniors with heart valve disease. Upon posting Linda’s video, this wonderful story racked up over 1,000 Facebook Likes. (Fyi, Linda’s surgery was performed by Dr. Marc Gerdisch.)
8. AFib Awareness Skyrockets at HVS
As up to 35% of patients with heart valve disease also have atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), we spent a significant amount of time educating our community about AFib this year. We launched the AFib & Heart Valve Education Center and we posted several videos about concomitant AFib and heart valve therapies.
In September, we were amazed to see the response to an educational post by Dr. Gan Dunnington. After posting Dr. Dunnington’s educational story, Top 5 Misconceptions of Atrial Fibrillation, over 1,100 people quickly ‘Liked’ the story. And, in less than 72 hours, the story had reached over 100,000 people. To see the story, click here.
7. Cowgirl Julie’s Smiling Scar Selfie
They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. But, the Smiling Scar Selfie of Julie McDonald-Lundren, a cowgirl from Minnesota, proved that a Smiling Scar Selfie is with more — as over 1,200 people ‘Liked’ it on Facebook. Just a few days after her successful aortic valve replacement by Dr. Robert Saeid Farivar at Minneapolis Heart Institute, Julie posted this awesome picture at Facebook.
6. Chicago Bulls Coach, Fred Hoiberg, Connects With HVS
In October, I had an amazing and unexpected opportunity to meet and film an educational video with Fred Hoiberg, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. If you didn’t know, Coach Hoiberg had two open heart surgeries to treat his bicuspid aortic valve and aortic aneurysm.
Coach Hoiberg chose the On-X mechanical valve, which just received FDA-approval using lower warfarin levels, for his procedure which was performed by Dr. Rakesh Suri who is now practicing at the Cleveland Clinic. When we posted photos from the video shoot, over 1,200 Facebook Likes quickly occurred. See more photos by clicking here.
5. Edwards Lifesciences Hosts “Patient Day” in Irvine
When I started this website nine years ago, I had a dream. My dream was that someday heart valve patients would connect in real-time to share their experiences as a community. Well, that dream transformed into reality when Edwards Lifesciences, a leading heart valve manufacturer, volunteered to host “Patient Day” at its headquarters in Irvine, California. To capture the special moments of this event, in which 100 patients and caregivers met in real-time, Edwards hired our team to film this experience.
As you might expect, our community erupted in positive feedback to the Patient Day concept. Over 1,200 people ‘Liked’ this video at Facebook.
4. Community Rockstars: Cris & Tammy
The members in our Community continue to amaze me. There is so much support. There is so much care for one another. And, there are so many great connections being made. I could go on-and-on about all the special people who are part of this website. Recently, I shined a spotlight on two members — Tammy Pilcher & Cris Dykeman — that have been overly active in our community. Within hours, this post received over 1,400 ‘Likes’ in my blog. To see the story, click here.
Tammy Pilcher & Melinda Hacker
3. Brian Walsh Keeps On Runnin’
He experienced a cardiac arrest, a coma, a mitral valve prolapse and an enlarged heart. However, none of that stopped Brian Walsh from continuing his passions – loving his family and running – thanks to a successful mitral valve repair surgery by Dr. David Adams of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
With over 2,000 Facebook Likes, this is Brian’s story:
2. A Live Webinar Blowout Thanks To Drs. McCarthy & Thomas
Our live webinar series continued to educate patients — all over the world — this year. So, when Dr. Patrick McCarthy and Dr. James Thomas from Northwestern Medicine hosted, “Heart Valves & Atrial Fibrillation: What Should You Know?”, the registrations for this event surged to 396 people. That said, we were really excited. After the event, we posted a free eBook that has been downloaded over 3,500 times. Download Free eBook.
1. “Patient Success Week” Creates Massive, Global Awareness for Heart Valve Disease
I am happy to share that our number one story for 2015 was the announcement of HeartValveSurgery.com’s “Patient Success Week”. With over 2,600 Facebook Likes, our community rallied around the idea that heart valve disease needs more awareness and education on a local, national and global level. During this special week, we shared several patient stories to help the world understand the symptoms, the causes and the available therapies to manage and treat valvular disease.
In total, the awareness campaign created over 1.3 million impressions with a direct reach of 508,000 people during this week-long event. Here’s a video in which I discuss the launch of the 2015 Patient Success Week:
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
As 2015 concludes, I want to extend an extraordinary thanks to all members of this community – the patients, the families, the friends, the caregivers, the doctors, the nurses, the clinic coordinators, the cardiac centers and, of course, our sponsors.
Your support of HeartValveSurgery.com continues to touch, move and inspire me!!!
Keep on tickin’ and Happy New Year!!!