Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 10

“Why Did I Want A Mitral Valve Repair?” by Janet

By Adam Pick on May 3, 2018

In our community, patient interest specific to mitral valve repair surgery continues to grow.  To support that educational interest, I’ve attended workshops, traveled to conferences and published free eBooks dedicated to mitral valve reconstruction techniques.

During a recent trip to Chicago, I was super lucky to connect with Janet, a long-time member of our patient community.  Janet, Bill (her husband), and I had actually met at Patient Day a few years back.  As we sat together, it was very interesting to hear Janet’s story and the reasons she was so committed to having a mitral valve repair procedure.  Here’s what Janet had to say…

 

 

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“Are There Advantages to Heart Surgery Through The Ribs?” asks Dennis

By Adam Pick on April 16, 2018

We’ve learned together that there are several different approaches for surgeons and cardiologists to treat heart valve disease.   There are open heart techniques and there are transcatehter approaches for heart valve replacement and repair.  Specific to this spectrum of approaches, I received a great question from Dennis about minimally-invasive access through the ribs.

Dennis asked me, “Hi Adam,  Does aortic valve replacement – through the rib cage – have any advantages or disadvantages versus open heart and/or TAVR?  Thanks. Dennis”

 

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Sneak Peek: 2018 Patient Day at Edwards Lifesciences

By Adam Pick on April 16, 2018

Twenty minutes before the patients arrived at Edwards Lifesciences for the 2018 Patient Day, this happened…

 

 

What happened next?  Stay tuned!

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Is Heart Failure Connected to Atrial Fibrillation & Mitral Valve Disease?

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2018

I just received a great question from Clay about mitral valve disease, atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.  In his note, Clay asked me, “Hi Adam, I have congestive heart failure and mitral valve prolapse plus long-term atrial fibrillation (AFib). My question is whether-or-not congestive heart failure is connected with mitral valve prolapse?  Thanks, Clay”

 

 

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Heart Surgery Patients Unite By A Mexican Pool!

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2018

An unexpected gift just occurred in my life.

While on Spring Break with my family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting…  Not one…  Not two… But, three heart valve patients.  Here’s what happened:

First, I met Mike from New Jersey.  Mike is a heart valve replacement patient who suffered from aortic stenosis.  Like so many patients in our community, Mike was mis-diagnosed several times.  It wasn’t until he was severely symptomatic and the valve was almost completely closed that Mike got help.

 

 

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“Will Exercise & Heart Valve Surgery Cause My Aorta To Grow?” asks Joseph

By Adam Pick on March 29, 2018

Aortic aneurysms can be life-threatening.  You might recall that an aortic aneurysm pre-maturely claimed the life of John Ritter, one of my favorite comedians best known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper on Three’s Company.

Specific to aneurysms, heart valve surgery, and exercise, Joseph sent me this question, “Hi Adam – I had mitral valve repair surgery in April of 2017.  After a follow-up in July, my cardiologist told me that my aorta was dilated at 4.5 centimeters and surgery might be necessary at 5 to 5.5 centimeters. Could my repair in April and/or strenuous prolonged exercise cause the aorta to grow?”

To answer Joseph’s question, I met with Dr. Eric Weiss, who is the director of the Aorta Program at Aurora Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Here are the highlights from my very interesting discussion with Dr. Weiss.

 

 

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My Cardiologist Was Absolutely Wrong!!!

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

Yikes!  Ugh!  Gasp!  Ready to learn why patient education and patient advocacy is so important for patients with heart valve disease?

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this note from Gina Fiorentino, a mitral valve patient and community member, from San Francisco.

 

Gina, Michael (husband) and Rocco

 

Gina Writes To Me…

Hi Adam,

I’m five days out from mitral valve repair. I was just released from the hospital today!

It’s very early in my recovery but I had to reach out and thank you for helping me through this process. Because of you, my prognosis and my LIFE has changed – much for the better!

As you may recall… Before I found your website, this past summer, I had been told by a cardiologist that my mitral valve prolapse had progressed.  But, I was directed – by the cardiologist – to sit back and “wait for symptoms to become intolerable”.  
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Would Alan Play Hockey Again After Heart Surgery?

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

His passion was hockey.  His diagnosis was severe heart valve disease.  His fear… Never playing hockey again.

This is Alan’s story…

 

 

Many thanks to Alan Steinberg for meeting with me to share his triumph of getting back on the ice after heart valve surgery. I loved hearing his story and I loved his inspirational attitude toward the procedure and his remarkable recovery.

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Thanks To Dr. John Mehall, Our 1st Sponsor in Colorado!

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

On behalf of our community, I wanted to extend a humongous thanks to Dr. John Mehall for becoming our first sponsor in Colorado.   Dr. Mehall, who specializes in minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve surgery, has performed over 1,000 heart valve procedures.

 

 

Dr. Mehall also specializes in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heart rhythm.  If you didn’t know, AFib can impact up to 35% of patients who have a valve defect.  So, if you have valve disease and AFib, you want to find a surgeon who can treat both diseases during a single operation.

Here’s a video in which Dr. Mehall describes his approach to patient care.

 

 

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On National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day, We Raised Awareness to 1 Million People!

By Adam Pick on March 15, 2018

Our patient community is downright amazing!

I can not thank you enough for celebrating National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day with me.   Thanks to your online efforts we raised heart valve disease awareness to over 1 million people.   This is so important because heart valve disease is under-diagnosed, mis-diagnosed and under-treated.  Consider that 40% of American adults have never even heard of heart valve disease.  Yikes!

 

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FDA Approves World’s Smallest Mechanical Heart Valve for Newborns & Infants!

By Adam Pick on March 8, 2018

Big News!  Great News!  Awesome News!

Yesterday, I learned that the FDA has approved the world’s smallest mechanical heart valve replacement from Abbott for pediatric patients.  This valve, known as the Masters HP 15mm mechanical heart valve, will enable doctors to treat newborns and infants needing mitral valve or aortic valve replacement.

 

 

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Today Is National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day!

By Adam Pick on February 22, 2018

Woo-Whoo!!  Double Woo-Whoo!!  Triple Woo-Whoo!!

Today is the 2nd annual National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day!!!  On this special day, 20+ organizations have joined together to raise awareness to heart valve disease…  A disease that is under-diagnosed and under-treated…  A disease that needs more awareness…  A disease that threatened my life!!!

 

 

So you know… We can’t do it alone.  We need your help.  That’s right!  Today, patients from all over the planet will unite to form an empowering force for good! We need your help to educate the world about the symptoms, the causes, the risks and the treatments of heart valve disease.

“How can I help?” you might be wondering.  (Yay! I was hoping you might be thinking that.  Scroll down for the answer.)

 

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Free Patient eBook: Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair

By Adam Pick on February 19, 2018

The response to our webinar, “Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair”, has been extraordinary. Hosted by Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Dr. James Thomas and myself, this 60-minute session connected patients from all over the world in real-time to discuss mitral valve disease and treatment options including mitral valve repair techniques.

If you missed the webinar, I just posted a free 52-page eBook. If you – or someone you love – has mitral valve disease, I really encourage you, your family and your friends to read this eBook or watch the webinar video below. There were many important points raised during this webinar that some patients are not properly educated about.

 

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Thursday Is National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day!

By Adam Pick on February 19, 2018

Mark your calendars!  This Thursday, February 22, 2018, is National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day!

“Why have a day dedicated to heart valve disease awareness?” you might be wondering.

Well… Consider that 5 million people in the United States alone have heart valve disease. However, 40% of American adults have never even heard of heart valve disease. Uggh! Double Uggh! Triple Uggh! Here’s a video about this special day!

 

 

For this reason, over 20 organizations have come together to raise awareness and fight heart valve disease. To learn about all the great online and offline events planned for this special day, here are several links to help you:

Hope you join us for this wonderful and important day!!!

Keep on tickin!
Adam
 
 

Cardiac Depression: What Should Patients Know?

By Adam Pick on February 11, 2018

For many patients, cardiac depression can be an unexpected and dislocating reality after heart surgery. Personally, I suffered from an extreme case of cardiac depression. My outlook was dismal. I had no energy. I felt alone and lifeless. Thankfully… That changed when I learned about cardiac rehabilitation classes and when I saw a therapist.

As my mission is to educate and empower you, I recently connected with Dr. Marc Gillinov, the Chair of Cardiac Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. If you didn’t know, Dr. Gillinov is a heart valve specialist who has successfully treated over 100 patients from our community. Here’s the highlights from my interview with Dr. Gillinov about cardiac depression.

 

 

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Patient Webinar Alert: Join 250+ Patients Today!

By Adam Pick on February 11, 2018

Holy Moly!  Sign-ups for our FREE upcoming webinar, “Advantages of Mitral Valve Repair”, soared past 250 patients since I announced this educational event last week!

The great news is that YOU can still register for the free webinar.  Our panelists for this important webinar include Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. James Thomas, Director of the Center for Heart Valve Disease, at Northwestern Medicine.  The one-hour webinar will be held TODAY, February 13, at 5pm CST.  To register now, click here.

 

 

I look forward to connecting with you LIVE during this special webinar!!!  This should be fun and educational!!!

Keep on tickin!
Adam

Rigid Sternal Fixation: Top 6 Facts for Patients

By Adam Pick on February 1, 2018

As I personally experienced… Sternal wires are commonly used to support the breast bone as it heals after open heart surgery.  As a community… We have openly discussed the discomfort and pain that can be associated with sternal wires during the healing process.  In fact, several patients in our community have had their sternal wires removed.

 


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“What Should Patients Know About Pumphead?” asks Pam

By Adam Pick on January 26, 2018

For patients needing open heart surgery…  The use of a heart-lung machine, also known as the “Pump”, is required to circulate blood while the heart is stopped, fixed and then restarted. The use of the Pump, however, has unfortunately been associated with cognitive issues – forgetfulness, poor attention span, fogginess, reduced speed of movement – following surgery.

Specific to this important topic, I received a great question from Pam about “Pumphead”.  She wrote to me, “Hi Adam, I had robotic mitral valve surgery in January. Although I’m feeling good, I still have lingering symptoms of Pumphead – double vision, floaters in my vision, fuzziness.  What exactly causes Pumphead? What is happening in my brain when I’m experiencing these post-surgery symptoms?”

To answer Pam’s question, I connected with Dr. Patrick McCarthy at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago.  Dr. McCarthy, who is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Medicine, has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures and more than 4,000 heart valve operations.  So you know, Dr. McCarthy has successfully treated over 100 patients from our community and invented many heart valve devices.  Here’s the highlights from our chat about Pumphead.

 

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“Is Mitral Valve Re-Repair Possible?” asks Jeanie

By Adam Pick on January 18, 2018

The possibility of heart valve “re-operations” is known within our community. As patients, we hope that only one valve procedure is needed during our lifetime. However, the reality is that patients may need one or more re-operations.

Specific to this topic… Jeanie recently asked me, “Hi, Adam. I’m 63 years old. I just had mitral valve repair surgery performed in April of 2017. Now, a few months later, I have moderate to severe leakage again. Can this be re-repaired or do I need to have it replaced?”

To answer Jeanie’s question, I was very lucky to interview Dr. David Adams who is the Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief of the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. If you didn’t know, Dr. Adams is a mitral valve guru who started the Mitral Conclave Conference and co-wrote the book, Carpentier’s Reconstructive Valve Surgery. In addition, Dr. Adams has successfully treated over 100 patients in our community including Sophie Marsh, Brian Walsh and so many others.

 

 

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Cardiologist Q&A: How Should I Take Care Of My Heart After Surgery?

By Adam Pick on January 11, 2018

Karen asked me a great question about taking care of her heart after valve surgery. Her note read, “Hi Adam – I am now approaching my fourth anniversary of mitral valve repair, tricuspid valve repair, and ASD closure. Are there things patients should be aware of as the years go by? How often should we have things performed, like echocardiograms, dental prophylaxis, blood thinners, and any blood work?”

To help Karen and our community learn more about this very important topic, I met with Dr. Robert Bonow, the former President of the American Heart Association and a Professor of Cardiology at Northwestern Medicine. So you know, Bob could be one of the nicest people I have ever met. Plus, he has helped many patients from our community including Christine Rakesh and Mark Kroto. Here’s the highlights of my interview with Bob.

 

 

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