Heart Valve Repair Blogs

By Adam Pick

“What About Sternum Healing, Wires & Infection After Heart Surgery?” asks Joachim

By Adam Pick on December 12, 2017

At the Heart Valve Summit, I received a great question about sternum healing, wires and infection.  Joachim asked me, “Publications have revealed that 50 to 80% of sternal infections are discovered after discharge, and that cardiac patients have the highest readmission rates. Since the sternal wires are the only force holding the sternum together after surgery, why is it that external chest supports are not a standard, adjunctive, and precautionary procedure after surgery?”

To get Joachim an expert opinion, I was very fortunate to sit down with Dr. Steve Bolling, a leading cardiac surgeon from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor.  Here are the highlights from our chat:

 

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Is Aortic Valve Repair A New Global Phenomenon?

By Adam Pick on November 7, 2017

Together, we’ve learned lots about the advantages of mitral valve repair procedures which include long-term durability and freedom from re-operation.  In the process, I’ve attended wonderful mitral valve conferences and I’ve even gone inside live surgeon workshops dedicated to teaching best practices for mitral valve repair.

That said, you might be wondering, “What about aortic valve repair?” and “Why don’t I hear much about aortic valve repair?”.  Unfortunately, our educational efforts specific to aortic valve repair have been minimal.  In the past, I simply haven’t received many patient questions about aortic valve repair.

Well…  It appears that is about to change.  During the recent Heart Valve Summit, I sat down with Dr. Vinay Badhwar, the Professor and Executive Chair of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at West Virginia University Medicine, to get the latest updates on new aortic valve repair devices and techniques.  Here are the exciting highlights from our discussion.

 

 

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Project ImaValve: Can A Heart Valve Repair Itself?

By Adam Pick on July 12, 2017

There is an outright explosion of medical advances specific to heart valve devices. In this edition of “Medical Wow!”, I’d like to introduce you to Project ImaValve.

 

 

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CDC Update: What Should You Know About Heater Cooler Machines, Infections & Heart Surgery?

By Adam Pick on November 8, 2016

In case you missed it… There was a very important CDC update recently that addressed a potential link between heater cooler machines and infections for heart surgery patients. My goal with this post is not to alarm you. Instead, with the help of Dr. Raymond Singer, chief of cardiac surgery at Lehigh Valley Health Network, and the CDC, I want to educate you about this development.

That said, I filmed this video with Dr. Singer to discuss several key points that patients should know about heater cooler units and a potential infection that results from nontuberculous mycobacteria. For more, watch this video…

 

 

In addition to the Dr. Singer’s comments, I also wanted to share this video that was posted by the CDC about heater cooler machines and the potential bacteria that may infect heart valves.

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Patient Q&A: How Fast Does A Heart Surgery Incision Heal?

By Adam Pick on February 5, 2015

I often receive the question, “How fast does a heart surgery incision heal?”

It’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a precise answer considering that (i) we all heal at different rates and (ii) many of us will have different incision types — from a full sternotomy to a mini-sternotomy to a thoracotomy, etc.

 

Unicuspid Aortic Valve Patient - CristenCristen Marzula – Heart Valve Surgery Patient

 

That said, Cristen Marzula, from Memphis, Tennessee, just posted an awesome picture in her heart valve journal about the rate at which her incision healed. In the picture below, you will see that Cristen compares her incision 3 days after surgery to a picture of her incision 5 weeks after surgery.

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