By Adam Pick on July 19, 2015
We’re excited to wrap up our first “Patient Success Week” with a story of hope!
In March, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation hired our team to film a mini-documentary about an extraordinary heart valve mission in the Dominican Republic. To see how patients, like Dionicio Garcia, got a “Second Chance” at life during this mission, please enjoy the video below.
I would like to thank the incredible medical teams from the University of Virginia, including Dr. Scott Lim and Dr. Kimberly Chadwell, Heart Care Dominicana, including Dr. Pedro Urena and Dr. Freddy Madera, and Clinica Corazon Unidos who hosted this mission.
And… To Amanda Fowler, Tom Maloney, Katrina Headle, Jade Jordan, Becky Kibbey and the entire team at the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, many, many, many thanks for the opportunity to attend the mission, film this video and share it with our community!
- Discover the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.
- Get to know Dr. Scott Lim and the UVA Advanced Cardiac Valve Center.
By Adam Pick on July 18, 2015
After the unfortunate loss of her dad to a heart attack, Sophie Marsh decided it was time to see a cardiologist for a heart disease screening. The test results surprised Sophie, Geoff, her husband, and their two daughters.
Even though Sophie had no symptoms, her echocardiogram revealed that Sophie had severe mitral regurgitation and severe tricuspid regurgitation. This is Sophie’s story…
While Sophie was asymptomatic, I think it’s a good idea to share some of the common symptoms associated with heart valve disease in this post… just in case you’re wondering. Symptoms include:
Patient Success Week: After Fainting & Aortic Valve Surgery, Laurence Gets Back to Pick-Up Basketball
By Adam Pick on July 17, 2015
As “2015 Patient Success Week” continues, I think it’s a great time to address an important symptom of heart valve disease — fainting. Needless to say, fainting can be very dangerous and very indicative of valvular disorders that have progressed to severe status. Several patients in our community, including Randy Heimerl, experienced this dislocating symptom.
For this reason, I wanted to share the story of Laurence Msall, a 52-year old bicuspid aortic valve patient, who I recently met in Chicago, Illinois. After fainting while exercising, Laurence didn’t waste any time getting an aortic valve replacement. Here’s why…
Many, many, many thanks to Laurence Msall for taking the time to share his patient success story with our community. We are so happy to hear that Laurence’s recovery went well and that he is back on the basketball court just 4 months after surgery.
I would also like to extend an extraordinary thanks to Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Dr. James Thomas, Dr. Robert Bonow, Dr. Chris Malaisre, Dr. Hyde Russell, Dr. Phan and the entire Northwestern team — Barbara Garren, Lola Banjo, Jane Kruse, Benjamin Hill, Colleen Clennon and Eric Alvarez — for their support of this patient community.
- Watch the “Bicuspid Aortic Valve Conference” for Patients
- See Northwestern’s Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patient Microsite
- Learn about Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Laurence’s surgeon
Keep on tickin’ Laurence!
By Adam Pick on July 16, 2015
I’ll admit it. I love our community. I love seeing patients inspire each other. I love seeing patients educate each other. And, I loooooooooove when patients use the community in ways that I never imagined.
For example, some patients have Spring Break reunions in Florida.
Other patients connect in the hospital after meeting in our community.
Patient Success Week: From a Cardiac Arrest to Running Across the Finish Line, This is Brian’s Story
By Adam Pick on July 15, 2015
A cardiac arrest. A medical coma. A mitral valve prolapse. An enlarged heart.
A will to live. A family to love. A desire to run.
This is the story of Brian Walsh…
Many thanks to Brian, Shea, Logan, Levi and Kyle for sharing their story with us during Patient Success Week. In addition, I would like to thank Dr. David Adams and the Mount Sinai Hospital team — Gideon Sims, Flo Kelemen and Lauren Woods — for their ongoing support and care provided to this community.
- See Brian’s Heart Valve Journal
- Learn about Dr. David Adams, Brian’s surgeon
- Visit MitralValveRepair.org
Keep on tickin’ and runnin’ Brian!!!
By Adam Pick on July 14, 2015
As we roll-out “Patient Success Week”, I am excited and honored to share the success story of Linda Kincaid, a mitral valve and Maze procedure patient. I first met Linda at her home in Indianapolis, Indiana. I instantly connected with this fun, mother-of-three as we filmed an educational video to support the launch of LivingWithValveDisease.org, a new community designed to support seniors with heart valve disease.
During our time together, I learned a lot from Linda. I learned about her struggles with mitral stenosis (which resulted from rheumatic fever) and atrial fibrillation. I learned how Linda’s symptoms impacted her quality of life — which limited her ability to garden and travel. I also gained unexpected insights during an emotional interview with Kristen Boyce, Linda’s daughter, who shared her experiences from the caregiver perspective.
This is Linda’s success story…
Fyi… I spoke to Linda this morning. She’s doing great!!!
As mentioned in her video, Linda’s passion for gardening has returned thanks to her concomitant heart valve and atrial fibrillation operation.
As you can see below, Linda’s garden is full of zucchini, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes.
Announcing the “2015 Patient Success Week” to Raise Awareness for Heart Valve Disease to 1,000,000 People!
By Adam Pick on July 13, 2015
Is it just me? Or, have you noticed that heart valve disease gets very little public awareness? I mean… Compared to other medical conditions… Doesn’t it feel like heart valve disease gets no “love” when you consider that 5 million people are diagnosed with valve disorders every year?
Well… Starting right now… With your help, I’d like to change that. Thanks to this wonderful community, we’re launching the “2015 Patient Success Week” to raise awareness for heart valve disease. Like all campaigns, we need a goal. Our goal is to reach 1,000,000 people in just 7 days.
To learn more about this much-needed effort, please watch the video below.
Now comes the big question…
Will you join us in this global effort? We don’t need any financial support or donations. All we ask is that you be on the look-out for some great patient stories this week. Then, if you like the stories, simply share them via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It’s that easy. You really can make a difference with a click!!!
By Adam Pick on June 30, 2015
Great news! Our ‘Ask Me Anything’ video series from the Mitral Conclave Conference has been an educational hit!
In this… The final video, we wanted to do something special. We didn’t just answer one question. Nope! We wanted to jam-pack this educational video with some of the most important and the most commonly asked questions you submitted about mitral valve surgery. So, in the video below, you will find six questions answered!
Many thanks to Drs. Adams, Anyanwu, Boateng, El-Eshmawi and Swain for taking the time to answer your questions in this final Ask Me Anything from the Mitral Conclave!!!
To watch our other AMA videos:
- Ask Me Anything #3 – How bad does my murmur have to be before it’s fixed?
- Ask Me Anything #2 – Is the MitraClip a standard procedure?
- Ask Me Anything #1 – Are palpitations a sign of mitral valve disease?
By Adam Pick on June 30, 2015
It feels like there is an explosion of new technologies coming out to treat heart valve disease. As of late, we’ve talked about transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices (TAVR) and transcatheter mitral valve repair devices. But, what about about transcatheter mitral valve replacement?
Well… I recently learned that Dr. Robert Saeid Farivar and his team has successfully implanted a transcatheter mitral valve replacement using a next-generation device developed by Tendyne.
Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement by Tendyne
To learn more about transcatheter mitral valve replacement therapy, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. Farivar. (So you know, Dr. Farivar has successfully treated many patients from our community — including Tammi Gunwall and Julie McDonald-Lundgren.)
By Adam Pick on June 16, 2015
Have you ever wondered how your doctor figures out the best treatment for your valvular disorder?
I did. But, I never asked my surgeon before my operation. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I learned about the Heart Valve Management Guidelines issued the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
To learn about these special guidelines, I interviewed Dr. Blase Carabello, a leading cardiologist, who has been working on the guidelines since 1998. Here are the highlights from my talk with Dr. Carabello.
By Adam Pick on June 4, 2015
Together, we’ve learned a lot about the symptoms of heart valve disease. We’ve also learned that many patients have no symptoms. That said, getting a proper diagnosis for any type of valvular disorder can be a bit tricky and, in some situations, quite dangerous.
During a recent trip to Chicago, I connected with Jim Kelly, 56, from Wheeling, Illinois. During our chat, Jim revealed a very unique, diagnostic story that resulted in… mitral valve repair surgery. This is Jim’s story.
By Adam Pick on June 4, 2015
I am very excited to announce that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) just launched a Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com!
UPMC, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has a unique Heart Valve Clinic approach that includes a Center for Aortic Valve Disease and other specialized centers for atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and aneurysm therapy.
As you may know, we’ve been working with UPMC for a few years. Many patients from our community — including Josephine Rizzo, Charlene Melcher, Michelle Bamburak — have had excellent surgical outcomes with the UPMC team. 🙂
To experience the new UPMC microsite, click here.
By Adam Pick on May 18, 2015
By Adam Pick on May 12, 2015
For our second “Ask Me Anything” video from the Mitral Conclave conference, we’re going to answer Dorothy’s question about the MitraClip, a new transcatheter mitral valve repair device (TMVR) that received FDA approval in 2013. In her post, Dorothy asked me, “Is the MitraClip getting closer to being a standardized procedure?”
To answer Dorothy’s question, I tracked down Dr. Gorav Ailawadi from the Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As you might recall, I was very fortunate to watch Dr. Ailawadi and Dr. Scott Lim perform a MitraClip procedure a few years ago.
By Adam Pick on April 30, 2015
You asked the questions! I got the answers!
That’s right. Last week, while attending the Mitral Conclave in New York, we received many questions from our community about mitral valve disorders. To answer your questions, I met with several leading surgeons and cardiologists. For example… In this video, Dr. Vinay Badhwar answered Nupur’s question, “Is a heart palpitation a symptom of mitral valve disease?”
Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. David Adams, Mitral Valve Expert, Harnesses Education to Improve Patient Outcomes
By Adam Pick on April 15, 2015
In 2009, after launching the Surgeon Finder, my inbox quickly filled-up with patient recommendations for Dr. David Adams. As I reviewed the recommendations, I noticed something… Every post was uploaded by a mitral valve repair patient.
At the time, I didn’t know who Dr. Adams was. But, a few months later, Dr. Adams and I met by phone. Then, about a year after that, we had lunch together in San Diego at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons conference.
During that lunch, I found myself repeatedly nodding my head up and down as Dr. Adams spoke about the need for patient education. I learned a lot during that meeting. Specifically, I learned about the advantages of mitral valve repair — which we would later discuss in this educational video.
By Adam Pick on April 9, 2015
Many patients with valvular issues — especially bicuspid aortic valves — also have ascending aortic aneurysms.
At the same time, patients can have isolated aortic aneurysms without any form of valve disease. For example, Ishmael asked me, “Adam, I have a 4.4-cm ascending aortic aneurysm. My doctors have been monitoring me for 9 months. I am going in for a CT scan again soon. My aortic valve is healthy. What is the success rate (or mortality rate) to fix the aneurysm and leave my valve alone during the procedure? I am 60 years old.”
To get Ishmael an expert opinion on this question, I contacted Dr. Eric Roselli from the Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Roselli is aortic aneurysm and valve specialist having successfully treated many patients in our community including Denise Kirchner, Matt Millen, Helen Holmes and, most recently, Cristen Marzula.
Dr. Eric Roselli, Heart Surgeon
In Dr. Roselli’s response to Ishamel, he first addressed the diagnostic process specific to aortic aneurysm and valve therapy:
By Adam Pick on April 1, 2015
Two years ago at the TCT conference in San Francisco, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. Jason Foerst, an interventional cardiologist that specializes in transcatheter valve therapy. When we met, Dr. Foerst was going through the process of launching a Heart Valve Clinic — which is no easy task.
Fast forward 24 months… I am thrilled to report that Dr. Foerst and the his team achieved their goal. The Carilion Heart Valve Clinic is now helping patients who need both surgical therapy and non-invasive transcatheter treatment for aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation.
On a recent trip through Virginia, I went inside the the Carilion Clinic to learn more. Here are the highlights from my tour:
By Adam Pick on March 23, 2015
[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart is no longer performing surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital.]
On a recent trip to New York, I was very fortunate to meet Christine Pittelli, a full-time mother of two girls, and Pedro Mejias, a world record power lifter who has bench pressed 645 pounds.
I had a great time with Christine and Pedro. Hearing their success stories was both inspiring and educational. I learned a lot about bicuspid aortic valves, aneurysms, valve repairs, minimally invasive techniques and Dr. Allan Stewart, their surgeon. For these reasons, I just posted this video.
Many thanks to Christine Pittelli and Pedro Mejias for sharing their stories with me and our community. Plus, a special thanks goes out to Dr. Allan Stewart for his extraordinary care of our patients. Dr. Stewart has successfully treated 100+ patients from our website. 🙂
By Adam Pick on March 16, 2015
Since launching this website, I’ve connected with many patients who were diagnosed with both heart valve disease and atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is an abnormal heart rhythm. According to reports, about 30% of patients with valvular disorders also have AFib. So, it’s pretty common.
However… I recently learned that about 70% of patients diagnosed with valve disease and atrial fibrillation DO NOT get atrial fibrillation treatment during their valve repair or valve replacement procedures. Yikes!!!
For these reasons, I just built a new Atrial Fibrillation Education Center to help patients get educated and empowered specific to heart valve disease and AFib. Here’s a quick, instructional video about the new AFib Education Center. (A written transcript of this video is provided below for the hearing impaired members of our community.)