Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 14

My Lucky 14th Heart Valve Surgery Anniversary!

By Adam Pick on December 16, 2019

It is hard to believe that 14 years ago this Saturday, December 21, 2005, I was being rolled into an operating room for my heart valve surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

As I sit and reflect on the past 14 years, I take a deep breath.  I take another deep breath. I then stare at my monitor, hands on keyboard and wait for my fingertips to start tip-tip-tapping away.



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Peloton Instructor, Robin Arzon, Sends Empowering Message to Heart Valve Patients!

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: December 12, 2019

I guess you could say that I’m somewhat addicted to our Peloton bike.

In this community… I’m not alone.  After sharing this post, I heard from many of you about our mutual love for this fitness craze.



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Doctor Q&A: 6 Important Questions About Mitral Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on December 3, 2019

My inbox is filling up with great questions about mitral valve disease and treatment.  Lisa is asking about minimally invasive surgery and pain.  Barbara asked me about the use of drugs to treat mitral valve disease and heart failure.  And… Charles wants to know about cardiac rehab after mitral valve surgery.



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“Does High Altitude Impact Your Heart?” asks Mario

By Adam Pick on November 21, 2019

I just received a great question from Mario about heart function, potential symptoms and high altitudes.  In his email, Mario asked me, “Hi Adam – I have a question about my heart. I just got back from Lake Tahoe, California.  I was in the casino and noticed that I was getting short of breath.  Is altitude something I should worry about?  Does altitude impact heart valve function?  Thanks!  Mario”.


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Technology Update: SternaLock Blu May Bring Faster Healing & Less Pain to Heart Surgery Patients

By Adam Pick on November 13, 2019 - This blog is sponsored by Zimmer Biomet.

For heart surgery patients, one of the scary and dislocating thoughts associated with the operation is… having your sternum broken.

Personally, I remember holding my chest as Dr. Starnes explained the procedure. First, my breast bone would be “separated.” (I think that was a kind way of saying that my sternum would be cracked.) Then, my heart would be opened. Next, my valves would be replaced. Finally, Dr. Starnes would use wires to secure my sternum.

“Wires?” I thought to myself, “How on Earth are wires going to keep my sternum stable?”


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MitraClip Gets New $37 Million Plant in Indiana

By Adam Pick on November 12, 2019

Wow!  It appears that all of the patient and the clinical trial success of the MitraClip is having a significant impact on Abbott’s manufacturing plans for the transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) device that some patients are calling the “Miracle Clip”.


The MitraClip


Last week… Abbott, the manufacturer of the MitraClip, announced that it will be opening a new $37 million manufacturing plant in Westfield, Indiana.

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Guest Blog: 6 Years After Heart Valve Surgery, Jim is a Track-and-Field Success!

By Adam Pick on November 12, 2019

The favorite part of my work as a patient advocate is connecting with the wonderful patients in our community.

That said, I recently met Jim Jones, a financial consultant from Maine, who had a mitral valve repair procedure.  Six years after surgery, I am happy to share Jim’s thoughts and pictures about his surgical experience and his love of track-and-field.


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“Can Bicycle Riding Wear Out My Heart Valves?” asks Mort

By Adam Pick on November 4, 2019

I just received a great question form Mort about exercise, biking and heart valve durability.  Mort asked me, “Adam, Will long distance bicycle riding – approximately 12 hours a week – prematurely wear out an aortic or mitral valve replacement made from porcine tissue?”



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Technology Update: Pipeline Medical Gets First-In-Man TMVR Implant & Gore Acquisition

By Adam Pick on November 4, 2019

In case you missed the big news…

W.L. Gore & Associates recently announced the acquisition of Pipeline Medical Technologies Inc. So you know, Pipeline manufactures a transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) device that was founded by Dr. Steven Bolling, the Director of the Mitral Valve Program at Michigan Medicine and a long-time supporter of


Dr. Steven Bolling (Pipeline Founder)


In addition to its acquisition, I learned from Dr. Bolling that Pipeline just completed a “First-In-Man” implant of its TMVR solution. To learn more about Pipeline, I called Dr. Bolling.

Here are four highlights from my interview with Dr. Bolling:

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Skydiver, Bill Legard, Jumps For An Edwards INSPIRIS RESILIA Heart Valve Replacement

By Adam Pick on October 29, 2019 - This blog is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.

Bill Legard is a very active 59-year old.  He’s a skydiver, a pilot, an entrepreneur and Bill makes parachutes for a living.  On a recent hike in Indonesia, Bill struggled with shortness of breath. His cardiologist diagnosed Bill with severe aortic stenosis, a life-threatening form of heart valve disease.

Considering his active lifestyle, Bill struggled with his valve replacement options.  Then, Bill heard about the INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve from Edwards Lifesciences that is helping so many patients in our community.  This is Bill’s story.



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“What About Flu Shots for Heart Surgery Patients?” asks Cheryl

By Adam Pick on October 21, 2019

I just received a timely and important question from Cheryl about flu shots and heart surgery.  In her email, Cheryl asked me, “Hi Adam – Can I get a flu shot, varicella and pneumococcal vaccines just 6 weeks after mitral valve replacement using a pig tissue valve?”


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Heart Fitness: The Peloton Bike Transforms My Life & Saves Us $9,755

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: October 14, 2019

Not too long ago… I was out to dinner with Dr. Michael Mack, a world-renowned heart surgeon and long-time supporter of  During that dinner, Dr. Mack mentioned that he just started using the Peloton bike.

“The Peloton bike? What’s that?” I asked.

Dr. Mack then described the Peloton as a new approach to “spinning” in which classes are beamed live from the Peloton studio in New York City – across the Internet – to a stationary bike at your home.



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“Rock From the Heart for Aortic Health” Event Announced for February 7 & 8

By Adam Pick on October 12, 2019

Woo-Whoo!  I’m excited to share that Amy and Pete Johnson are putting on the 2nd “Rock From the Heart for Aortic Health” event next February 7-8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

During this special two-day event, you are invited to meet other patients and attend the Aortic Health Symposium, a Recognition Dinner and a Night Ranger Concert.  To learn more, click here.



Continue reading this post » Facebook Page Reaches 300,000 Patient & Caregiver Members!

By Adam Pick on October 9, 2019

Unexpected and wonderful!!!

Thanks to your extraordinary support and your “Likes”, I am happy to announce that the Facebook page just reached 300,000 members.



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“Is Congestive Heart Failure Common After Heart Valve Surgery?” asks Shae

By Adam Pick on September 24, 2019

I just received a great question from Shae, a patient, about congestive heart failure after heart valve surgery.

Shae writes to me, “Hi Adam – How often is it that patients develop congestive heart failure years after having the mitral valve replaced (with a cow valve) and having the tricuspid valve fixed?  I had my valves fixed and replaced in 2012.  Now, I just had a surprise diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF).  Apparently, doctors know this can happen but I was never informed about this.”


Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Valve Disease

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Clinical Trial Update: TRILUMINATE Launches to Rescue “Forgotten” Tricuspid Valve

By Adam Pick on September 6, 2019

Big, big, big news!

Earlier today, Abbott announced the launch of the world’s first pivotal clinical trial for the catheter-based treatment of tricuspid valve regurgitation.  The trial, which is called TRILUMINATE, will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the TriClip transcatheter valve repair system for leaky tricuspid valves.  The TriClip does not require an incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.


TriClip Transcatheter Tricuspid Valve Repair System


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Patient Advice to a Doctor?

By Adam Pick on September 6, 2019

As heart disease patients, we receive advice – from our friends, from our family and, most importantly, from our medical team.

But… What advice can patients give their doctors to help us through the surgical process?

I found the answer when I came across the Facebook post below.  After reading “Advice from a Patient”, I smiled and thought, “Wow! That is fantastic, authentic, true and completely accurate”.

So you know, this was posted by Dr. Sloane Guy, a robotic mitral valve specialist, who I have been fortunate to work with for several years.  How great!  A surgeon sharing this with other surgeons!



Great, right?

Keep on tickin!

Why Did 50 Patients Get a Standing Ovation at “Patient Experience 2019” at Edwards Lifesciences?

By Adam Pick on August 6, 2019 - This blog is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.

Something special recently happened!  More than 50 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 drive helpful insights for Edwards, and to inspire action within our community – the heart valve patient community.

The event, which was previously called “Patient Day”, is now called… “The Patient Experience”.  Luckily, Edwards hired us to film the wonderful moments of this unique event that included:

  • Meet-and-greets with the heart valve assembly teams
  • A look at Edwards’ 60+ years of pioneering work in structural heart disease and critical care technology
  • Panel and group discussions
  • A campus and manufacturing tour including Edwards’ Heart Valve Museum

One of my favorite parts of the day was watching patients meet the Edwards employees who actually hand-crafted their individual heart valves.

Ready to see what happened at Patient Experience 2019? Watch the video below…


(This video was sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.)


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Tennis Enthusiast, John Persinger, Celebrates Surgeon with “Team Gerdisch” T-Shirts!

By Adam Pick on August 6, 2019

Shortly after sharing this post about a cow valve replacement t-shirt, our Facebook page went bonkers with over 1,600 Facebook Likes.

Then, my inbox swelled with questions about where to buy the t-shirt.  Thankfully, the actual t-shirt designer emailed me a link to his Amazon store.  Next… Back on Facebook, I started seeing bunches of new t-shirt designs for patients commemorating their heart valve surgery.  It’s been so fun to see our community come together like this!


John Persinger, Heart Valve Patient in his “Team Gerdisch” T-Shirt

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Phil Can Breathe Freely Thanks to the MitraClip!

By Adam Pick on August 1, 2019

The patient story of Phil Yalowitz is very personal for me. 

A retired urologist, who spent many years practicing at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Phil is my dad’s cousin.  So you know, my dad and Phil grew up together on the south side of Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue their interest in medicine.  Phil and my dad had a special bond.  They acted and laughed together like brothers, so I always considered Phil my uncle.


Phil Yalowitz (MitraClip Patient)


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