By Adam Pick on March 2, 2015
Sorry for being a little quiet as of late. So you know, we’ve been working on a very significant website update.
“Why?” you might be wondering. Well, after we relaunched our website last August, we were not completely prepared for the increased traffic and patient interactions across the website. As we reviewed the website code, we found several opportunities to optimize the code and implement new technologies to enhance your experience at HeartValveSurgery.com (HVS).
By Adam Pick on February 26, 2015
A key question for patients needing heart valve surgery is, “What type of incision will be used to access and then repair or replace my heart valve?”
For example, Melanie just asked me, “Can you please tell me if the mitral valve can be replaced via minimally invasive surgery? I need mine replaced. I was told that only mitral valve repairs can be done using less invasive techniques. Is that true?”
Diagram of Minimally Invasive Approach to the Mitral Valve
I wanted to provide Melanie an expert response. So, I contacted Dr. Marc Gillinov from the Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Gillinov is a valve specialist. About 90% of his surgeries involve valve therapy. Most importantly, Dr. Gillinov has helped over 100 patients from our community including Lee Corbin, Ralph Mason, and Anita Devine. In addition to all of that great stuff, Dr. Gillinov is a super nice guy who also co-wrote Heart 411.
By Adam Pick on February 24, 2015
I just received a great question from John about sternal clicking after open heart surgery.
In his email, John writes to me, “Adam, I have a sternal click. It started 2 days post op where I was having trouble sleeping on my back. Attempting to sleep on my side, I felt a decisive “thud” and immediately rolled back and my chest seemed to right itself back. I continued to experience this click as I had little sternal pain and was liberal in my movements. I then researched the topic and came across some info on nonunion of the sternotomy and became concerned. Is this common for patients? What is a nonunion of the sternum? What can be done to prevent this? What can be done to correct it? Thanks! John”
Xray of Sternal Nonunion
To get John an expert response, I contacted Dr. T. Sloane Guy.
Free Webinar eBook & Video: “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery and Valve Management Guidelines” with Dr. Adams, Dr. Nishimura & Me
By Adam Pick on February 18, 2015
Great news. If you missed our recent webinar, “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery; Plus, Valve Management Guidelines” with Dr. David Adams, Dr. Rick Nishimura and myself, you can now download the free 40-page eBook by clicking here.
Watch The Webinar Filmed In Dr. Adams’ Office!
In addition to the eBook, you can also watch the webinar that was filmed live from Dr. Adams’ office at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
By Adam Pick on February 10, 2015
I just received a great question from Rachel about calcium build-up on bicuspid aortic valves.
Rachel writes to me, “Hi Adam, At 49, I was recently diagnosed with a severely calcified bicuspid aortic valve. I’m told that I will need surgery in the next year. I don’t really have any symptoms… yet. My question is about the calcium on the leaflets. Is it possible for the surgeon to simply remove the calcium to improve the functioning of the valve? Or, does the calcium always damage the valve leaflets to the point where it needs to be replaced? Thanks, Rachel.”
Bicuspid Aortic Valve with Calcium Build-Up
By Adam Pick on February 10, 2015
For centuries, people have used water as a way to calm and de-stress the body, relieve pain and improve overall well-being.
Generally referred to as hydrotherapy, it can involve anything from soaking in a warm tub to relieve discomfort or using cold water to reduce inflammation. Although “hydrotherapy” can also include inhaling steam, using foot baths and placing a hot compress on an aching head, it more commonly refers to immersing the entire body in a hot tub, spa or pool.
As for me, I’m a “fish out of water”. Hot or cold, I’m always up for getting wet. I like to swim, surf, scuba, snorkel, wakeboard and simply sit in water. Water rejuvenates me. Here’s a picture of Ethan, my son, and I playing in a lake.
By Adam Pick on February 5, 2015
I often receive the question, “How fast does a heart surgery incision heal?”
It’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a precise answer considering that (i) we all heal at different rates and (ii) many of us will have different incision types — from a full sternotomy to a mini-sternotomy to a thoracotomy, etc.
Cristen Marzula – Heart Valve Surgery Patient
That said, Cristen Marzula, from Memphis, Tennessee, just posted an awesome picture in her heart valve journal about the rate at which her incision healed. In the picture below, you will see that Cristen compares her incision 3 days after surgery to a picture of her incision 5 weeks after surgery.
By Adam Pick on January 26, 2015
I’m very fortunate to meet many patients with heart valve disease. It’s always interesting to hear how each patient has a unique story specific to their valvular disorder.
Stella McClellan is a perfect example of this phenomena. Within 30 seconds of meeting Stella, I was captivated by her story. I mean… When someone tells you they were about to die from aortic stenosis, how can you not want to learn more. This is Stella’s patient success story thanks to a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
By Adam Pick on January 21, 2015
As many of you know, I am an optimist.
I truly believe that every dark tunnel — no matter how dark — has light at the end of it. I truly believe that for every situation — no matter how unfortunate it may be — there is something to learn from, something to grow from, something to challenge ourselves with.
However, this optimism has its moments. My hopes are tested. And, my resolve to stay positive can feel completely dislocating.
During the past 30 days, I experienced two of these foreign moments.
By Adam Pick on December 31, 2014
During 2014, our community actively discussed many topics specific to the management and the treatment of heart valve disease. As we prepare to enter 2015, I thought it might be helpful to look back at the stories that generated the most interest and social sharing during the past twelve months.
By Adam Pick on December 30, 2014
As many of the gift giving holidays just passed, there is no better time to start focusing on a healthy new year. That said, here are a 5 healthy gift ideas (and tips) to help you — and those around you — during 2015!
So you know… The CDC states that an unbelievable 26.6 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with heart disease. If your parent, spouse, child or friend has shown an interest in adopting a healthier lifestyle, this is a prime opportunity to help them on their way. When the time comes for gift-giving, be it a holiday, birthday or other celebration, you can support their efforts with these five gift ideas that will keep your loved ones going strong on the journey for better health.
1. Make Nutrition Easy
There’s an old adage that says, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” The nutrition piece of the wellbeing puzzle is an especially important part that is often the most difficult for health-seekers. Poor eating habits are hard to break, and even the slightest enticing treat can throw someone entirely off track. Many people find that nutritious meals take more time to make, and cost more money, so are less incited to make the effort. But you can change this.
Surgeon Q&A: “Can Aortic Stenosis and Aortic Regurgitation Result in Over Exertion & High Stress?” Asks Mark
By Adam Pick on December 12, 2014
I just received a great question from Mark about symptoms and potential, patient limitations relating to aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation.
In his email, Mark writes, “Adam, I was diagnosed in 1999 with Aortic Regurgitation at age 47 and receive annual echos and check up. This year 2014 at age 62, I was diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis, I believe moderate at 1.2 to 1.5 CM2. I have reported to my cardiologist mild shortness of breath and very regular and annoying palpations. My job is high stress and at times includes extreme over exertion. I can’t seem to keep up and at times feel very fatigued, short of breath and ill. My cardiologist is great, but he said my age may be the primary reason, not my heart disease. My primary care physician tends to disagree and thinks my Aortic Stenosis is primarily responsible. My question is with moderate aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation, is there risk to extreme over exertion, and high stress? I am asking for your opinion because of your knowledge on the subject.”
I wanted to provide Mark an expert response to his question so I contacted Dr. Jeff Gibson, a cardiac surgeon from Nashville, Tennessee. So you know, Dr. Gibson has treated many members of our community including LaTonya Blair, Thomas Bryant and Carol Chandler. 🙂
Webinar Announced: “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery & Valve Management Guidelines” with Dr. Adams, Dr. Nishimura & Me on December 19
By Adam Pick on December 11, 2014
I am very excited to announce that Dr. David Adams, the Program Director of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center, and Dr. Rick Nishimura, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, will be hosting a special one-hour webinar on Friday, December 19, at 12:0pm EST.
The webinar, “Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery & Valve Management Guidelines”, will help educate patients, their families and friends about the latest techniques for treating mitral valve disorders including mitral regurgitation. Plus, Drs. Adams and Nishimura will also address the latest 2014 Valve Management Guidelines that help cardiologists, surgeons and patients with their specific heart valve disorder.
More good news… The webinar is free for everybody. To register now, click here.
I forgot to mention… During the webinar, you will have an opportunity to ask Drs. Adams and Nishimura questions in real-time. That said, this is an excellent opportunity to get your questions answered from two valve gurus!!!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on November 25, 2014
If you, or someone you know, have been diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), this post is for you. Let me explain…
I recently attended and spoke at the 2nd Annual Bicuspid Aortic Valve Conference in Chicago, Illinois. During this special conference — which was created for patients, their families and friends — several BAV specialists shared their latest research and clinical experiences specific to the management and treatment of bicuspid aortic valves. The conference was amazing. And, I was super excited to meet many patients from our website at the event.
By Adam Pick on November 25, 2014
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Everything about the holiday speaks to what I cherish most about life — family, fun friends, tasty food and… football. 🙂
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I wanted to thank each of you for your support, inspiration, encouragement and participation at HeartValveSurgery.com. Together, we are educating and empowering patients, their families and friends — all over the world. For that, I am very, very, very, very thankful!
On behalf of Robyn, my wife, and Ethan, my 5-year old son, we are wishing you the happiest of holidays!!!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on November 20, 2014
I am very excited to announce that Carilion Clinic just launched a Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com!
If you didn’t know… Carilion, which is located in Roanoke, Virginia, has been performing heart procedures for more than 30 years. Many patients from our community — including Michael Siska and Bobby Broughman — have had great surgical outcomes at Carilion.
By Adam Pick on November 20, 2014
Now is the time to maximize your longevity and invigorate your vitality by finding activities that nourish your soul. As you recover from surgery, ask yourself what you’ve always wanted to do or what you want to do more of. There are plenty of hobbies that don’t require too much physical exertion and can be great for stimulating your mind.
Whether you want to make great memories by sharing these activities with your family or want to find some time for yourself, this is your life, and it’s time to live it.
By Adam Pick on November 19, 2014
Finding a great surgeon and experienced cardiac center is beyond critical for patients needing heart valve surgery. However, the process of acquiring trusted and reliable information about medical providers can sometimes be an uphill battle.
So… In case you missed the recent announcement, Consumer Reports just published their first-ever rankings for heart surgery programs in the United States. In total, over 400 hospitals are included in Consumer Reports’ list. To read the whole story, click here.
By Adam Pick on November 17, 2014
By Adam Pick on November 11, 2014
On a day when we honor the people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, I wanted to salute Ray Tollefson from Michigan. Ray, who is 89 years old, was an Army Ranger during the infamous landing at Normandy during World War II, which is most commonly referred to as D-Day on June 6, 1944.
Here’s a great video to help you learn more about Ray’s heroic story and his recent transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure (TAVR) at the University of Michigan.
Many thanks to Ray and all of the people of the U.S. Armed Forces — past, present and future — for their courage, their bravery, and their resolve to protect this country.
Happy Veteran’s Day!