Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 10

The Aortic Stenosis “Danger Zone” Is Here

By Adam Pick on March 4, 2019

I just spoke with a patient who was recently diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis.  The nature of our discussion was a bit concerning.  So, I wanted to relay the ideas exchanged during our call for all of us to reflect upon and potentially learn from.

To start, the patient is in her golden years and flat-out terrified by the idea of heart surgery.  She said to me, “Adam, I may just pass on the operation and live out my days.  I don’t really feel sick.  Just a little tired on walks.”  She continued with fear in her voice and said hesitantly, “Will… I… Be… Okay?”


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Now That’s A License Plate!

By Adam Pick on February 21, 2019

To whomever is driving this car around Los Angeles, California,

I’d just like to say, “Thank You!” for making my day! And, “Thank You!” for raising awareness to heart valve disease!


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Grab Some Popcorn! Dr. Fedak Is Ted Talking!

By Adam Pick on February 17, 2019

I’m a big fan of Dr. Paul Fedak from Calgary.

If you have not heard that name before… Dr. Fedak is a well-respected surgeon, an inventor, a big-time researcher of bicuspid aortic valves, and an ongoing supporter of this community.


Dr. Paul Fedak


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Mava’s Smiling Scar Selfie Inspires 7,300 Facebook Likes!

By Adam Pick on February 16, 2019

Many, many, many thanks to Mava Reif, from Saint Cloud, Florida, for inspiring our community!

So you know… Mava was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation.  Her symptoms included fatigue and shortness of breath but she was “shocked” to learn that she needed heart surgery.  Thankfully, Mava located Dr. Kevin Accola at AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida.



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12 Surgeons Help Me Film 20 Videos at STS!

By Adam Pick on February 6, 2019

On behalf of our patient community, I want to thank the 12 surgeons who helped me film an educational video series at The Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting in San Diego. I was really humbled that so many awesome surgeons came together to film videos about heart valve disorders, atrial fibrillationcoronary artery disease and aortic aneurysms.

Here’s Dr. Vinay Badhwar from WVU Heart & Vascular Institute:


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Let’s Go Red for Women!

By Adam Pick on February 1, 2019

If you didn’t know, American Heart Month kicked off today.  To get things going, February 1 is always National Wear Red Day in support of the “Go Red for Women” campaign.  The goal of this awesome day is to raise awareness to heart disease and unite communities that are fighting for the eradication of heart disease and stroke.


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Thanks to the MitraClip, Michele Will Not Need a Heart Transplant!

By Adam Pick on January 24, 2019

Michele’s life was in jeopardy due to heart failure from severe mitral regurgitation.  She was so sick, her medical team was evaluating a heart transplant to save her life.

Then, Michele heard about the MitraClip.  This is her story…



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Surgeon Q&A: What Should Patients Know About Aortic Regurgitation?

By Adam Pick on January 17, 2019

Over the past several months, I’ve noticed a steady rise in the number of patients at the community who are diagnosed with aortic regurgitation.   That said, I wanted to create new educational resource to help patients with a leaking aortic valve.



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Sara Educates & Inspires 38,443 People About Heart Valve Surgery!

By Adam Pick on January 17, 2019

I need to take a quick minute to thank Sara Colosimo for sharing her journey to a healthy heart with our community!!!  If you have yet to visit Sara’s Heart Valve Journal, now is your chance.


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New Study: Heart Surgery Not Linked to Memory Decline

By Adam Pick on January 17, 2019

Over the years, we’ve had several discussions about cognitive issues following heart surgery. Several patients in our community have complained of “pumphead”.  Patients often describe pumphead as forgetfulness and/or memory loss that is potentially attributable to heart-lung machine use during open-heart procedures.  At the same time, many patients in our community have not noticed any changes in mental capabilities following heart surgery.


Memory Decline After Heart Surgery

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Doctor Q&A: “What Criteria Do Surgeons Use to Choose a Heart Valve Replacement?” asks Peter

By Adam Pick on December 17, 2018

I just received a great question from Peter about heart valve replacement devices. Peter asked me, “Hi Adam – I have moderate-to-severe aortic stenosis and I will need surgery soon. I’m curious to know… How do surgeons select a valve replacement for me?  It seems like there are so many choices our there – mechanical, tissue, sutureless valves, that new INSPIRIS valve and TAVR.  What are the key criteria the docs use to choose a valve replacement. Can you please ask a surgeon for me? Thanks, Peter”


(Sources: Abbott, Cryolife, Edwards Lifesciences)


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“How Do I Know When My AFib Is Gone After Heart Surgery?” asks Linda

By Adam Pick on December 4, 2018

Linda just asked me two GREAT questions about heart valve surgery and atrial fibrillation (AFib).  She writes, “Hi Adam, After surgery… How do I know when my AFib is gone?  Also, when do patients stop taking blood thinners after AFib is gone following surgery?  Thanks! Linda”



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New Findings: Mitral Valve Repair Restores Normal Life Expectancy!

By Adam Pick on December 4, 2018

I don’t know about you… But, when I was told that I needed heart surgery… One of my first questions was, “Will heart surgery compromise my expected 76.4 years here on Earth?”


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Remembering Fran Zilko (1939 – 2018)

By Adam Pick on December 4, 2018

On behalf of our community…  I am sending thoughts, prayers, condolences and love to the family and friends of Fran Zilko.  I was soooo very sad to learn that Fran, who had successful aortic valve replacement surgery in 2010,  passed away after a fall and issues with her kidneys, lungs and heart.  Born in 1939, Fran was a nurse, a wife to Peter, a mother to Christine, Teresa and Stephen, and a grandmother to Michael, Katya and Frances.


Fran with Peter

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“What Happens to Aortic Valve Debris During TAVR?” asks Shripad

By Adam Pick on November 8, 2018

I received a ton of GREAT questions for our recent Ask Adam Anything: Facebook LIVE Sessions at the Heart Valve Summit.   One of the questions that I didn’t have time to answer came in from Shripad who asked, “Hi Adam – In the transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure (TAVR), what happens to the debris of the old diseased aortic valve which is crushed by the balloon catheter? If the debris cannot be removed, can tiny particles of the debris cause stroke or heart attack? Thanks!”

Before answering Shripad’s question, I thought it would be helpful to show how a TAVR is implanted.  As you can see in this video animation, a TAVR device is positioned inside a stenotic aortic valve and then expanded using a balloon.  During that expansion, the new aortic valve essentially “smushes” the old valve out of the way.  That is why Shripad’s question is so interesting.   What happens to the defective leaflets and/or calcium deposits that caused the aortic valve disease?




Dr. Craig Smith Says…

Now that we understand how a TAVR works and why aortic valve debris may occur, let’s answer this very important question.

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New MitraClip Research Is A “Game Changer” for Patients!

By Adam Pick on October 30, 2018

Applause, excitement and tears of joy filled the main arena at the 30th Annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference when the results of the COAPT trial were announced. This unique clinical trial showed that the MitraClip, a transcatheter mitral valve repair device, reduced risks of hospitalization and death in patients with heart failure and secondary mitral regurgitation.

Shortly after the COAPT trial results were announced, I was fortunate to connect with Dr. Mark Ricciardi, a lead implanter of the MitraClip at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Here’s the highlights of my conversation with Dr. Ricciardi.



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“Ask Adam Anything” Videos from Facebook LIVE Just Posted!

By Adam Pick on October 15, 2018

In case you missed it…  Our first “Ask Adam Anything” video series on Facebook LIVE was amazing!!!  So many great questions.  So many great answers! To educate and empower you, I just posted the videos with Drs. Bolling, McCarthy and Roselli below, in our Videos section, and in our YouTube channel.


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Ask Adam Anything Live at The Heart Valve Summit!

By Adam Pick on October 9, 2018

You’ve got questions!  Let me get the answers!

That’s right.  Send me your questions about heart valve surgery and I’ll get them answered during our 1st Facebook LIVE sessions at the Heart Valve Summit this Thursday, October 11!   Simply EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS to or post your questions below.



When Are The Facebook LIVE Sessions?

On Thursday, October 11, we are very lucky to have scheduled three Facebook LIVE sessions during the Heart Valve Summit.  I will be joined by Dr. Steve Bolling, Director of the Mitral Valve Program at Michigan Medicine, Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Eric Roselli, the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.

The agenda for the Facebook LIVE sessions on Thursday, October 11 are:

  • 9:00 am CST: Dr. Eric Roselli, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Cleveland Clinic
  • 2:30pm CST: Dr. Steve Bolling, Director of the Mitral Valve Program at Michigan Medicine
  • 3:30pm CST: Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

This is going to be great.  Don’t forget to send your questions to

Keep on tickin!

Get Your Questions Answered on Facebook Live at the Heart Valve Summit!!!

By Adam Pick on October 8, 2018

Great News Everybody!  This Thursday, will host our first Facebook Live event.  During the live broadcast, YOU CAN ASK YOUR QUESTIONS to the world’s leading surgeons and cardiologists at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago.



As of now, our featured guests include Dr. Steve Bolling, Director of the Mitral Valve Program at Michigan Medicine, Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Eric Roselli, the Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.


How Can You Join the Facebook Live?

There are 3 ways you can participate in our Facebook Live.  First, you can join us at Facebook during our broadcast times.  The broadcast times will be posted soon.   Second, you can submit your questions directly to me before the event – either at this Facebook post or at  Third,  all of our broadcasts will be posted at Facebook after the event.

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Heart Valve CareLine Helps Save Bob’s Life!

By Adam Pick on October 3, 2018

Bob Taylor was running out of time.  His heart valve disease was worsening and his insurance company just denied him a life-saving operation.  Then, Bob’s daughter heard about the Heart Valve CareLine.  This is Bob’s extraordinary story.



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