By Adam Pick on August 21, 2018
Great questions are coming in from our patient community about the use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for the treatment of bicuspid aortic valves. If you didn’t know, TAVR is a non-invasive approach to aortic valve replacement that does not require an incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs. TAVR was approved by the FDA in 2011 for “high risk” patients. In 2016, the FDA approved TAVR for “intermediate risk” patients. Recently, clinical trials have launched to test the safety and efficacy of TAVR in “low risk” patients.
By Adam Pick on July 11, 2018
If you didn’t know…
Your aorta is the largest artery in the body. It starts at the top of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, and extends down to the abdomen. Blood is pumped from the left ventricle into the aorta through the aortic valve, which is a tri-leaflet heart valve for 98% of the population.
As many people in this patient community are aware, the aorta can weaken and expand. This bulge in the aorta is called an aneurysm. In worse case scenarios, an aortic aneurysm can rupture (or dissect). Together, we have learned that many patients with heart valve disease – especially bicuspid aortic valves – also have aortic aneurysms.
By Adam Pick on May 31, 2018
Timing heart valve surgery can be tricky for cardiologists, for surgeons and, ultimately, for patients. For this reason, doctors and medical device companies are working together to develop next-generation technologies to determine the right time to operate or to continue “watchful waiting”.
I wanted to learn more about this topic, so I met with John Pascarella from Frankfort, Illinois. John was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, a bicuspid aortic valve and an aortic aneurysm during a Medicare physical. Interestingly, John was not rushed into surgery. Instead, Dr. Chris Malaisrie, a leading cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Medicine, used Four Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (4D-MRI) to watch John closely until surgery was needed. This is John’s story…
By Adam Pick on December 21, 2017
Ready to go on a wonderful journey through the evolution of heart surgery?
In this video… Dr. Paul Fedak, the Professor of the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the University of Calgary, describes the pioneers and the medical breakthroughs that transformed heart surgery from taboo to mainstream medicine. The video is 17 minutes long… And, worth every second of it.
By Adam Pick on September 28, 2017
Many patients diagnosed with heart valve disease can also struggle with other disorders including atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease. Another co-morbid disease that can have a sudden and fatal impact on heart valve patients is an aortic aneurysm. You might recall that an aortic aneurysm pre-maturely took the life of John Ritter, one of my favorite comedians best known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper on Three’s Company.