By Adam Pick on September 20, 2018
We’ve talked a lot about transcatheter aortic valve replacement, also known as TAVR. We’ve talked a lot about transcatheter mitral valve repair (e.g. the MitraClip). We’ve also talked about transcatheter mitral valve replacement devices (e.g. Tendyne) that are in clinical trials.
However… We have not spent a lot of time discussing transcatheter tricuspid valve therapies.
Well… I think that is about to change.
Why Did 100 Patients & Care Partners Get a Standing Ovation at Patient Day 2018 at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, California?
By Adam Pick on September 17, 2018 - This blog is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.
Something special recently happened. More than 100 patients and their care partners traveled to Edwards Lifesciences, a leading heart valve manufacturer in Irvine, California, to meet each other, to share their stories and to inspire action within our community – the heart valve patient community.
This day is appropriately called… Patient Day!!!!!
Luckily, Edwards hired us to film the wonderful moments of this unique event that included meet-and-greets with the heart valve assembly teams, panel and group discussions, a campus and manufacturing tour and more. One of my favorite parts of the day was watching patients meet the Edwards employees who made their valves by hand.
Ready to see what happened at Patient Day 2018? Watch the video below…
By Adam Pick on September 11, 2018
There are LOTS of great advances happening in the treatment of heart valve disease. Many of those technological breakthroughs enable cardiologists and surgeons to perform life-saving procedures with smaller-and-smaller incisions.
As you might recall, one of the big breakthroughs in valve therapy was the FDA approval of the da Vinci Surgical System to perform robotic mitral valve repair procedures for patients with mitral valve regurgitation in 2002. Since then, we have collectively learned a lot about robotic surgery from leading clinicians including Drs. Chitwood, Trento, Gillinov, Mihaljevic and Badhwar.
Recently, I’ve received several great questions about robotic mitral valve surgery. For that reason, I felt it was time to get an update about robotic technology. I wanted an expert opinion, so I reached out Dr. T. Sloane Guy. Dr. Guy is a robotic specialist that has helped many patients from our patient community. Here are the highlights from our recent exchange.
By Adam Pick on September 6, 2018
We are continuing the roll-out of HeartValveSurgery.com 5.0 with a new educational section of the website. As you may know, we have created several free eBooks over the years to help educate and empower patients with heart valve disease. Since our initial post, these eBooks have been downloaded over 40,000 times. However, we never had a central place on the website to make these eBooks available to our community. Well… That changes today!
I am happy to announce that we just launched a “Free Educational eBooks” section of the website. Now, you can access our free eBooks — including “5 Critical Questions Answered for Patients”, “Advances in Transcatheter Heart Valve Therapy”, “Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair” and more.
I hope the free eBooks help you along your journey to a healthy heart!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on August 29, 2018
The first time I heard about the Ross Procedure I was skeptical. My first thought was, “What???!!! You want to play musical chairs with my heart valves? No way!!!” Then, the more I learned about this unique procedure for patients with aortic valve disease, I started thinking, “Hmmm. That might be the operation for me.”
Ross Procedure Diagram
By Adam Pick on August 29, 2018
[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart is no longer performing surgery at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute.]
On behalf of our patient community, I want to extend a mighty thanks to Dr. Allan Stewart at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute for becoming our newest sponsor!!!
As you may know, Dr. Stewart is a long-time supporter of the HeartValveSurgery.com community. In addition to performing successful surgery on over 300 patients from our community at Mount Sinai Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Stewart has helped me create many educational stories and videos. He’s also an endurance athlete that runs triathlons and marathons with his patients – like Gregg O’Keeffe.
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 August 9, 2018 - This blog is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.
In case you missed it… The INSPIRIS RESILIA heart valve is now available in the United States. This is an important development for patients who require a more resilient tissue valve for the replacement of their native or prosthetic aortic valve.^
This revolutionary aortic valve (pictured below) is the first in a new class of so-called resilient heart valves introduced by Edwards Lifesciences. It has a new tissue that is better at blocking calcium and a first of its kind expandable valve frame designed for potential future valve-in-valve procedures.*^ And it is built on the proven Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT valve design – which has helped over one million patients worldwide.
By Adam Pick on August 9, 2018
By Adam Pick on August 9, 2018
I’m getting wonderful feedback from our patient community about the website relaunch on the new HeartValveSurgery.com 5.0 platform. As I mentioned here, this was a “Phase 1.0” launch of the website that updated over 10,000 pages of information across the website.
By Adam Pick on July 27, 2018
Great news everybody!
Thanks to your thoughtful feedback and wonderful support, I’m excited to share that we just re-launched HeartValveSurgery.com. So you know, this is the fifth re-launch of the website since we started it in 2006. In the last 12 years, we’ve had over 10 million website visits. With this new platform, I believe we are now ready to help educate and empower even more people fighting heart valve disease.
By Adam Pick on July 25, 2018
Now, more than ever, I am getting questions about atrial fibrillation (AFib) from heart valve patients. And, for good reason. Did you know that up to 35% of patients with heart valve disease have AFib? And, did you know that people with AFib are 5 times more likely to have a stroke? Sadly, did you know that AFib can result in heart failure?
On top of all that… Did you know that AFib is commonly IGNORED during heart valve surgery? Watch this new video to learn the shocking realities of AFib treatment for valve patients, the latest AFib research, and the most effective AFib treatment options from Dr. Harold Roberts, a leading heart surgeon at West Virginia University Medical Center.
I really want (need) to over-emphasize the key points made by Dr. Roberts in this interview:
By Adam Pick on July 19, 2018
For years, I’ve heard about the fantastic, mind-body techniques of Peggy Huddleston. Many patients in our community, like Gina Fiorentino, have raved to me about the benefits of Peggy’s book, “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster”. In addition, several cardiac centers – including Brigham & Women’s Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center – recommend Peggy’s CD and MP3 to patients.
If you didn’t know… Research suggests that Peggy’s strategies help patients (i) reduce anxiety before surgery, (ii) reduce pain medication consumption by 25%-50%, (iii) diminish insomnia, and (iv) accelerate healing. For these reasons, I was thrilled to recently connect with Peggy. During our exchange, I asked Peggy, “What are your most important tips for patients getting ready for surgery?”
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 May 31, 2018
This is unexpected…
What makes this milestone so interesting and (wonderful) is that we have not advertised any of our videos. That’s right! We have not paid for a single playback since launch.
By Adam Pick on May 24, 2018
Have you ever wanted to see what a mitral valve looks like before-and-after it’s repaired?
Well… Thanks to Tim Martin, a patient who just had mitral valve repair surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, here’s your chance!
As you can see, an annuloplasty ring was used to support the supporting structure of the mitral valve. You can also see how the leaflets of the mitral valve are now coming together to prevent leakage across the valve.
Pretty amazing, right?
By Adam Pick on May 24, 2018
Thanks to Julie… I’m having another “Holy Moly” moment.
What happened? First, I saw an inspirational Smiling Scar Selfie from Julie Gerard posted at our community. Julie just had a mitral valve repair procedure on April 19. I loved the photo. So, I shared it at Facebook. Then… Julie went viral. In less than 24 hours, Julie’s picture received over 5,000 social shares, 400+ encouraging comments, and directly reached over 41,000 people around the world.
Many thanks to Julie for sharing her Smiling Scar Selfie with our community! And, thanks to you for supporting Julie as she recovers from heart valve surgery!
Keep on tickin’ Julie!
By Adam Pick on May 17, 2018
This patient community is fantastic. The questions I’ve received lately are wonderful and very detailed. I know that you, or the loved one you care for, are taking patient advocacy to a new level!
As we saw in this patient success story, many patients are doing their homework specific to mitral valve repair and the various techniques used by surgeons and cardiologists used to treat mitral regurgitation. Recently, I had a phone call with Diane. She said, “Adam, I want to learn more about robotics for mitral valve repair?”
To educate Diane and our community, I jumped at the opportunity to connect with Dr. Vinay Badhwar, who is the Professor and Executive Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Dr. Badhwar is a community favorite that has cared for our patients and supported our educational initiatives. Here’s what Dr. Badhwar shared with me:
By Adam Pick on May 10, 2018
On January 10, 2017…
I received a phone call from Harolyn, an aortic stenosis patient, from Springfield, Missouri. Like so many patients I speak with, Harolyn was a bit nervous, a bit concerned and a bit apprehensive about the possibility of heart valve surgery in her life. So you know, Harolyn was no stranger to disease. She already had 3 bouts with cancer that required radiation and chemotherapy.
As we spoke, I did my best to calm her fears and educate Harolyn about potential treatment options. The more we spoke, the more I learned that Harolyn was her own best advocate. She had already spent time on HeartValveSurgery.com – educating herself about aortic stenosis and the minimally invasive therapies that might treat her narrow aortic valve.
Harolyn, TAVR Patient, with Dr. Brown & Dr. Mack