Before Surgery Blog

By Adam Pick

New “5 Warning Signs You May Need Heart Valve Surgery” Webinar Video Just Posted!

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Medical Expert: Kevin Hodges, MD, Cardiac Surgeon, Northwestern Medicine
Published: April 13, 2024

New “8 Must-Know Tips for Heart Valve Patients” Webinar Video Just Posted!

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Medical Experts: Mustafa Ahmed, MD; Gregory Fontana, MD; Heather Johnson, MD; Natalie Kelley, RN
Published: February 24, 2024

“What About Planning & Outcomes For A Third Open-Heart Surgery?” asks Mitrina

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Medical Expert: Marc Gerdisch, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Franciscan Health
Published: January 12, 2024

The HeartValveSurgery.com website started in 2006. That said, many patients in our community now need heart valve re-operations due to worn-out heart valve replacement devices and/or failing heart valve repairs. As a result, I am receiving many interesting questions from patients as they prepare for their second and third re-operation.

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Heart Health Awareness: Coronary Artery Disease & Heart Valve Disorders

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: July 18, 2023

Is it true that coronary artery disease impacts up to 27% of heart valve patients? Can coronary artery disease cause life-threatening conditions including heart attacks? Is it possible for surgeons to use minimally-invasive techniques to treat both coronary artery disease and heart valve defects in one operation?

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Top 3 Facts to Overcome Patient Anxiety & Fear Before Heart Surgery

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: July 11, 2023

If you have just been told that you need heart surgery, it is VERY COMMON to experience the emotions of anxiety and fear.

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Surgeon Q&A: Radiation Associated Heart Valve Disease

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: March 1, 2023

While cancer treatments for conditions including Hodgkin’s disease are often called “medical miracles” by patients, their families and friends, there can be unfortunate side effects from radiation therapy.  Specific to our community, patients may experience a unique form of heart valve disease following radiation treatment.

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Heart Health Awareness: Endocarditis & Your Heart Valves

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: August 16, 2022

For patients diagnosed with endocarditis, a dangerous infection that can cause severe heart valve disease, I just posted a new article, Endocarditis: Top 7 Facts People Should Know.  In this article, Dr. David Kaczorowski, Surgical Director of the UPMC Heart Transplant Program, provides several insights to help patients in our community.

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Calcium Supplements Could Spell Trouble for Older Heart Valve Patients

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: April 27, 2022

For many patients, heart valve calcification is public enemy number one.  A calcified heart valve can lead to severe stenosis, debilitating symptoms, major health risks and death.

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2020 ACC/AHA Guidelines Announced for Heart Valve Disease Management & Treatment

By Adam Pick on December 20, 2020

As valve disease progresses from mild to moderate to severe, there may come a time that patients hear something like this from their cardiologist, “After looking at your last echocardiogram, it appears the valve has gotten worse. Unfortunately, it is now time to start planning surgery to repair or replace your valve.”

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12 Great Questions To Ask Your Heart Surgeon

By Adam Pick on December 18, 2016

A brilliant question I often receive from patients is, “What should I ask my surgeon when I meet with them?”

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Surgeon Q&A: Is It Safe for Patients with Heart Valve Disease to Exercise?

By Adam Pick on March 10, 2016

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I received a great question from John about exercise and heart valve disease. John, who has a leaking heart valve, asked me, “Does exercise put me at risk?”

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Surgeon Q&A: “Why Do I Need An Angiogram Before Heart Valve Surgery?” asks John

By Adam Pick on October 8, 2014

I recently saw a great question posted at John’s heart valve journal. So you know, John is scheduled for aortic valve surgery on October 17. In his post, John asked, “Since I already know that I have aortic valve stenosis — and need it replaced — why do I have to go through an angiogram?”

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“What About Breast Implants Before Heart Surgery?” Asks Dorata

By Adam Pick on February 24, 2014

I received an interesting question from Dorata about breast implants, echocardiograms and minimally invasive heart valve surgery. In her email, Dorata writes, “Hi Adam, I’m expecting a mitral valve repair surgery in a few years. I’m considering having breast implants now. I am wondering if breast implants interfere with the echocardiographic examination and minimally invasive surgeries?”

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“Do Asymptomatic Patients Really Need Heart Valve Surgery?” with Dr. Richard Lee

By Adam Pick on January 27, 2012

Following our last post about watchful waiting for patients with moderate heart valve disease, I received several emails from asymptomatic patients. While each email was unique, most patients were curious to know if patients without symptoms should undergo heart valve repair and heart valve replacement procedures — for conditions including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation.

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“What Are The Risks Of Mini-Sternotomy Compared To A Full Sternotomy?” Asks Jenny

By Adam Pick on September 6, 2011

Jenny just sent me a very interesting question about surgical approaches for heart valve repair. She writes, “Dear Adam – I was just diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation. I have regular degenerative mitral valve prolapse. An annuloplasty valve ring has been recommended as well. I’m thinking of having a mini-sternotomy and wondering what the risks are compared to a full sternotomy? Are there any other approaches that might be advantageous for me? Thanks, Jenny”

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“How To Manage The Fear & Anxiety Before Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Sophia

By Adam Pick on May 14, 2011

Sophia sent me a very appropriate question about two emotions experienced by most patients prior to heart valve surgery. She writes, “Adam – I’m 62 and diagnosed with mitral regurgitation. I need surgery and I’m scared out of my mind. Is there anything the surgeons can share that could ease my fear and anxiety?”

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“Do All Patients Get A Cardiac Catheterization Before Heart Surgery?” Asks Denise

By Adam Pick on March 27, 2011

Yesterday, I spoke with Denise, a 44 year-old patient suffering from severe mitral regurgitation disorder. She asked me, “Adam – The first surgeon I met with has yet to request a cardiac catheterization. Is that normal? I thought all patients got heart caths before surgery?”

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“Can I Stay Overnight In The ICU With My Wife?” Asks Ted

By Adam Pick on September 5, 2010

He writes, “Adam – My wife is going in for aortic valve replacement operation next week. I want to support her morning, noon and night. Do you know if I will be able to stay in the ICU overnight with her? Thanks, Ted”

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“Should I Get A Teeth Cleaning Before Heart Surgery?” Asks Karen

By Adam Pick on June 25, 2010

I just received an interesting question from Karen about teeth cleaning before heart surgery.

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“Incision Site Or Full Body Shave?” Asks Shirley

By Adam Pick on April 19, 2010

I just received an interesting question from Shirley about hair removal prior to heart valve surgery.

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