By Adam Pick on December 9, 2016
I get a lot of great questions and phone calls about transcatheter mitral valve therapy. So, at the recent Heart Valve Summit, I sat down with Dr. Steven Bolling to help all of us learn the latest updates about transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement technologies.
Why Dr. Bolling? Well… Dr. Steve Bolling is the Director of the Mitral Valve Center at the University of Michigan. During his career, Dr. Bolling has performed over 5,000 heart valve procedures. You should also know that Dr. Bolling has been a huge supporter of our community and Dr. Bolling has successfully treated bunches of patients from our community including Jeff Adams, George Parrish and Linda Comai. Here’s the highlights from my interview with Dr. Bolling:
By Adam Pick on November 22, 2016
One thing I love about being a part of this community is seeing and hearing wonderful patient stories. I often tell Robyn, my wife, I’m constantly “TMI’d” by this community. (So you know, the acronym TMI, in our family, means touched, moved and inspired. 🙂 )
Well… I was just TMI’d again thanks to Tony Taddeo, a 91-year old heart valve patient, and Dr. Michael Mack, his cardiac surgeon. If you are ready for a little TMI, please watch Tony’s video below:
Many thanks to Tony Taddeo for being such an inspiration to our community!!! Also, we would like to thank Dr. Michael Mack and his awesome team at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano for their excellent care of Tony!!!
Keep on tickin’ Tony!
By Adam Pick on November 16, 2016
Great news! Our webinar, “Advances in Transcatheter Heart Valve Surgery”, was amazing! During this online event, over 150 patients connected live with Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Davidson, Dr. Malaisrie and me.
If you missed the webinar, you can now download the free eBook by clicking here.
Watch the Webinar Live!
In addition to the eBook, you can also watch the webinar that was filmed live.
On behalf our community, many, many, many thanks to Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Dr. Charles Davidson, Dr. Chris Malaisrie, Jane Kruse, Barbara Garren and the entire Northwestern Medicine team for coming together for this wonderful community event.
Keep on tickin!
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 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.
By Adam Pick on October 24, 2016
I’m just getting back from the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago. It’s an amazing conference where hundreds of surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and medical device companies gather to discuss the best practices for heart valve management and therapy.
While there, I was very lucky to see how 3D echocardiograms are helping doctors before, during and after surgery. As you will hear from Christine Wagner, a product application specialist with Philips Ultrasound, these images were taken using a transesophageal echocardiogram, also known as a 3D-TEE.
Thanks so much to Christine and Philips for all the great work they are doing to help the surgeons help us patients!!!
Keep on tickin!
P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, here is a written transcript of the video with Christine Wagner.
Christine: Hi, I’m Christine Wagner, a product application specialist for Phillips Ultrasound. I want to describe what you’re seeing on the screen here. This is a 3D TEE, and it is an en face view of the aortic valve. You can see all three cusps here. You’ll see this little black line there, which is a coronary artery. By using this technology, we are able to see not only exquisite detail, but I can rotate this image around. I can see it from the front and the back. It allows us to give such detailed information to our surgeons that they were really never able to have before, both pre and during an aortic valve procedure.
Interviewer: Wow. Thanks so much, Christine.
Christine: You’re welcome.
Interviewer: We really appreciate it.
By Adam Pick on October 17, 2016
I just received a great question from Dorothy about heart valve replacements. Dorothy asked me, “Hi Adam, Why can some of the newer valves, like the Perceval and Trifecta GT, only be used in the aortic position and not the mitral? If those valves are new and good shouldn’t they be used in the mitral position as well? I have moderate mitral stenosis. Thanks Adam!”
By Adam Pick on September 29, 2016
Happy World Heart Day!!!!
If you didn’t know, this wonderful campaign was started by the World Heart Federation to raise global awareness for cardiovascular disease. To support this effort, HeartValveSurgery.com just launched an interactive, all-day campaign to elevate awareness to heart valve disease. To join me, please visit and like our Facebook page.
Thanks to the World Heart Federation and our wonderful community for being a part of World Heart Day! I hope to see you over at Facebook!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on September 29, 2016
I am very excited to announce that Rush University Medical Center (Rush) just launched a Heart Valve Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com!
Rush, which is located in Chicago, is taking a unique approach to heart disease. The Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease, was developed to offer patients a wide range of treatment options for all types of valve disease in adults. Using a heart team approach, each patient meets with a team of specialists to determine the best treatment for diseases including aortic stenosis, mitral valve prolapse and pulmonary stenosis. See the new Rush Valve Microsite.
By Adam Pick on September 15, 2016
I’ll never forget when my cardiologist said to me, “Adam, The calcium on your valve is causing serious problems. Your valve is stenotic. You need a new valve.” In that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions and… questions. Some of the questions were, “What do you mean calcium on the valve?” and “What is stenosis?” and “OMG! Do I really need heart surgery?”
Ten years after surgery, I’m thrilled to report that my aortic valve replacement is doing great. That said, I receive a lot of excellent questions from our community about heart valve calcification. So, I wanted to create a special post dedicated to this very important topic.
By Adam Pick on August 25, 2016
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 asked us to attend Patient Day 2016 and film the wonderful moments of this unique event that included meet-and-greets with the heart valve assembly teams, panel and group discussions, a heart valve museum tour and more. My favorite part of the day was watching patients meet the Edwards employees who made their valves by hand.
Ready to see what happened at Patient Day? Watch the video below…
Thanks to the patients and caregivers who traveled – from near and far – to participate in Patient Day. And… On behalf of our community, I want to extend a mighty thanks to the entire Edwards team for empowering the patient voice at “Patient Day 2016.”
By Adam Pick on August 17, 2016
At the recent American Association for Thoracic Surgery meeting in Baltimore, I was very lucky to connect with Dr. Vinay Badhwar, the executive chair of the West Virginia University Heart & Vascular Institute. During our chat, we had a very interesting conversation about the differences between primary and secondary mitral regurgitation.
I wanted to learn more. So, after I got home from Baltimore, I emailed Dr. Badhwar to see if he would help me put together a “Surgeon Q&A” about this very important topic. Guess what? As you will see below, Dr. Badhwar agreed! 🙂
Dr. Vinay Badhwar – Heart Surgeon
1. What is mitral regurgitation? What are the common symptoms?
Dr. Badhwar Says: Mitral regurgitation or “MR” is a backward leakage of the central valve of the heart, the mitral valve. The mitral valve is a one-way valve that works like a set of two French doors that meet in the middle. It is made up of the doors (known as leaflets) and the door frame (known as the annulus). When a problem occurs with either the door (leaflet) or the door frame (annulus), the valve can leak. When MR occurs, blood leaks from the left ventricle, backward across the mitral valve, into the left atrium, then backwards into the lungs.
Technology Update: Exceptional Hemodynamics & More Earn Trifecta GT FDA Approval; 7 Facts You Should Know
By Adam Pick on August 9, 2016
In case you missed it… The Trifecta Valve with Glide Technology (Trifecta GT) just received a U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval. This is really great news for patients given the unique advantages of this aortic valve replacement.
To learn more, I contacted Dr. Douglas Johnston, a leading heart valve surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. So you know, about 70% of Dr. Johnston’s cases includes valve therapy and Dr. Johnston has already implanted many Trifecta GT valves. In addition, Dr. Johnston has successfully treated several patients in our community including Sonny Abassi and Sandra Shaw. 🙂
Dr. Douglas Johnston
By Adam Pick on July 21, 2016
I am very excited to announce that WVU Medicine just launched a Heart Valve Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com!
WVU Medicine, which is located in Morgantown, West Virginia, is really taking on heart disease. WVU Medicine just recruited world renown heart valve specialist, Dr. Vinay Badhwar, to lead the cardiac center. And… The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute will be headquartered in a new $200 million, 10-story tower on WVU Medicine’s main campus which is scheduled to open in January 2017. The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute will additionally be home to WVU Medicine’s statewide efforts in cardiovascular quality and research, clinical education, outreach, and statewide program development. See the new WVU Valve Microsite.
By Adam Pick on July 21, 2016
I am so sorry that we ran out of paperback copies of my book, The Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery, last month. I know many of you were disappointed by the sell-out.
I want to try and make it up to you. So, for the next 7 days, we are going to offer everybody a 35% discount on both the paperback and eBook copies my book. Fyi, this is the first time since publishing the book in 2006 that we have discounted the price.
Again, I’m so very sorry about this.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on June 30, 2016
A common question I receive from patients who can not have their valves repaired is, “What are my valve heart replacement options?”
For this reason… I jumped at the chance to film an educational video about this topic with Dr. Alfredo Trento, the Director of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. So you know, Dr. Trento is a valve guru having successfully performed over 4,000 heart valve operations and treated many patients from our community including Robin Hirsch, Jerry Andis and Angie Brooks. 🙂
Here are the highlights from my discussion with Dr. Trento…
As many patients, including me, will tell you… The process of selecting a heart valve replacement can be challenging. I always encourage patients and their family members to create a “Pros and Cons” list for each valve given the patient’s lifestyle, age and activity level. As one doctor confided in me, “At this time, there really is not a perfect valve replacement for all patients types. There are, however, many options that have been developed to fit each patient population.”
Patient Success Story Videos with Mechanical, Tissue & TAVR Valves
For this reason, I these and other reasons, I thought you might like to see patient success stories I filmed with patients that selected different types of valve including a mechanical valve, a tissue valve and a TAVR.
By Adam Pick on June 20, 2016
A great question from Sue came in regarding genetics and heart valve disease. She asked me, “Adam – Is heart valve disease genetic or is there a tendency to develop valvular disease in the later years of life?”
To answer Sue’s question, I was very lucky to interview Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the chief of cardiac surgery and executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine. If you didn’t know, Dr. McCarthy is a valve specialist having performed over 4,000 heart valve procedures. At our community, Dr. McCarthy has successfully treated many patients as you can see by the 60 patient testimonials posted here.
I hope that helped Sue (and perhaps you) learn more about the genetics associated with heart valve disease. Many thanks to Sue for her question and a special thanks to Dr. Patrick McCarthy for sharing his clinical experiences and research with our community.
By Adam Pick on May 30, 2016
Valerie sent me a GREAT question about transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR), bicuspid aortic valves and aortic aneurysms. Valerie asked, “Hi Adam – I have a bicuspid aortic valve and aneurysm. Is there any work being done using the TAVR method to also fix an aneurysm too? Or, does an aneurysm negate use of TAVR for valve surgery?”
To educate Valerie (and our entire community) about this very important topic, I contacted Dr. Michael Mack. So you know, Dr. Mack is Chairman of The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, the Medical Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Baylor Health Care System and a former President of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Specific to TAVR, Dr. Mack was very involved in the PARTNER clinical trials which led to the first FDA approval of the Edwards SAPIEN valve in 2011.
Dr. Michael Mack – Heart Surgeon
Needless to say, Dr. Mack is a valve and TAVR guru. He’s also a super nice guy who has helped many patients from our community. 🙂
By Adam Pick on May 24, 2016
How would you react if you learned that your unborn child was suffering from a life-threatening disease known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome? What would you do? Who would you turn to?
This is the story of Leilani, Kayla and Jesse…
Many, many, many thanks to Leilani, Kayla and Jesse for sharing their courageous and inspirational story with us. And, an extraordinary thanks goes out to Dr. Evan Zahn and all the team members at the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Keep on tickin’ Leilani!
By Adam Pick on May 16, 2016
The pictures show Fran’s transformation…
Fran’s words amplify his inspirational journey… He wrote to me:
By Adam Pick on May 10, 2016
I just received a great question from Lisa about ventricular tachycardia and heart valve surgery. Lisa asked me, “I was born with tetralogy of fallot and had two heart surgeries before the age of 6. I just had my 3rd surgery at 46 to put in a pulmonary valve. Now, 3 years later, I’m being sent to a specialist to talk about ventricular tachycardia. Is this common with patients like me?”
If you didn’t know… Ventricular tachycardia (or V-tach) is a fast heart rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart (ventricles). If left untreated, some forms of V-tach may get worse and lead to ventricular fibrillation, which can be life-threatening.
That said, I wanted to get Lisa an expert opinion on this very important question. So, I reached out to Dr. Joseph Rowe, a cardiac surgeon at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia who has been in practice for over 15 years. So you know, Dr. Rowe has also successfully treated many members from our community including Bobby Broughman and Michael Sitka. 🙂
In response to Lisa’s question, Dr. Rowe first addressed the congenital nature of Lisa’s valvular defect: