Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 18

Rush University Medical Center Launches Heart Valve Microsite!

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!

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.




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Surgeon Q&A: What Are 8 Important Facts About Calcified Heart Valves?

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.

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What Happened When 100 Patients & Caregivers Met for “Patient Day 2016” at Edwards Lifesciences?

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.”

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Surgeon Q&A: What’s The Difference Between Primary & Secondary Mitral Regurgitation?

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.

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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.


FDA Approval for Trifecta GT Heart Valve


To learn more, I contacted Dr. Douglas Johnston. 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, Cleveland ClinicDr. Douglas Johnston

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WVU Medicine Launches Heart Valve Microsite!

By Adam Pick on July 21, 2016

I am very excited to announce that WVU Medicine just launched a Heart Valve Microsite at!

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.

West Virginia Heart and Vascular instituteReflecting on his new role at the WVU Medicine, Dr. Badhwar stated:

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So Sorry! Please Accept An Instant 35% Discount On My Book!

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.


Adam Pick Book Restock


Again, I’m so very sorry about this.

Keep on tickin!

Surgeon Q&A: What Are My Heart Valve Replacement Options? (Plus, 3 Patient Stories)

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.

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Surgeon Q&A: “Is Heart Valve Disease Genetic?” asks Sue

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.

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Surgeon Q&A: “Can TAVR Be Used for a Bicuspid Aortic Valve & Aneurysm?” asks Valerie

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?”


SAPIEN 3 TAVR (Edwards Lifesciences)


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 MackDr. 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. 🙂

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Leilani is a Heart Warrior Princess!

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!

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Guest Blog: Just 10 Months After Heart Valve Surgery, Fran Conquers The Gulf Coast Triathlon

By Adam Pick on May 16, 2016

The pictures show Fran’s transformation…




Fran’s words amplify his inspirational journey… He wrote to me:

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Surgeon Q&A: Is Ventricular Tachycardia Common after Heart Valve Surgery?

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.


Ventricular Tachycardia and Heart Valve Surgery


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:

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Surgeon Q&A: Should Atrial Fibrillation Get Treated During Heart Valve Surgery?

By Adam Pick on April 25, 2016

If you didn’t know… Many patients with heart valve disease have atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. According to reports, up to 35% of patients with valvular defects are more likely to have AFib. For this reason, I really appreciated Anita’s question, “Adam – Can anyone having heart valve surgery be a candidate for corrective atrial fibrillation treatment?”

To answer this very important question, I tracked down Dr. Steve Bolling, a leading heart valve surgeon at the University of Michigan.  So you know, Dr. Bolling has successfully treated many patients in our community including Linda Comai, Jeff Adams and George Parish. 🙂

Here’s what Dr. Bolling shared with me.



Many thanks to Anita for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Steve Bolling for sharing his clinical expertise and research with our patient community.

Keep on tickin!

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Surgeon Q&A: What Percent of Patients Get Pacemakers After Heart Valve Surgery?

By Adam Pick on April 14, 2016

I recently received a great question from Lori about pacemakers and heart valve surgery. Lori posted at our Facebook page, “Adam, what percentage of patients need pacemakers after valve surgery?”

It’s a great question. And, I wanted to get Lori a great answer. So, at the Heart Valve Summit, I tracked down Dr. Patrick McCarthy, who is Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Medicine and the Executive Director at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. If you didn’t know, Dr. McCarthy is heart valve guru who has treated over 100 patients in our community including John DiFazio, Ed Miscovic and Janet Ruddock. 🙂

Here’s Dr. McCarthy’s response to Lori’s question.



Many thanks Lori for her question. I would also like to extend a mighty thanks to Dr. Patrick McCarthy and the entire Northwestern team for their support of our patients, their families and friends.

Keep on tickin!

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Surgeon Q&A: What is the Latest Research on Less Invasive Aortic Valve Surgery?

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2016

Eileen Chen, who is a member of our Facebook community, recently asked me, “Hi Adam, What is the latest research on less invasive aortic valve surgery?”

To answer Eileen’s question, I was very lucky to interview Dr. Allan Stewart during the Heart Valve Summit conference. So you know, Dr. Stewart is an excellent surgeon (and super nice guy) who has successfully treated over 100 patients from our community — including Christine Pittelli, Bill Easton, William Brogna and many others. 🙂

Here’s how Dr. Stewart answered Eileen’s question…



I hope this video helped Eileen (and perhaps you) learn more about less invasive aortic valve surgery techniques. I want to thank Eileen for her question. I also want to extend a humongous thanks to Dr. Allan Stewart for his continued support of our patient community.

Keep on tickin!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of this interview below.

Adam: Hi, everybody! It’s Adam with I’m here at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago, Illinois, and I am thrilled to be with Dr. Allan Stewart. Dr. Stewart, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Stewart:  My pleasure, Adam. Good to see you.

Adam:  We are answering your questions that you submitted at our Facebook page. We’re going to answer a question, Dr. Stewart, from Eileen Chan. She says, “I’m looking into learning about any new research on less invasive aortic valve surgery.” Can you share about what you’re doing in the hospital these days?

Dr. Stewart:  Absolutely, Adam! As we really evolve with new technology and new techniques, there’s a spectrum of less invasive surgery. It’s not necessary anymore to make a foot-long cut down the center of the breastbone and open it up; the incision you had many years ago. We’ve evolved now, and we have better techniques and better technology.

A standard aortic open heart surgery is still done with a chest incision, but the chest incision is only about five centimeters, about two and a half, three inches long. Now there are two options for that. One option is right through the breastbone at the top, where we make an upside down ‘T’, but the skin incision is very tiny and we put it together with titanium plates. That way you can get back to function very, very quickly in life, and you won’t alarm in the airport.

The other option is to go right through the side of the chest. Now, this is not a cosmetically appealing option to a woman because it’s right into the breast tissue. For a woman such as Eileen, I would favor the tiny incision down low. She can still wear the plunging neck gowns and the scar won’t show.

Now, I don’t know Eileen’s age but the other options available for less invasive surgery is TAVR, which we have a very robust program.

Adam:  Dr. Stewart, for people who don’t know what TAVR means, can you explain that what technology is?

Dr. Stewart: TAVR is obviously an acronym. TAVR means trans-aortic valve replacement — transcatheter. What transcatheter means is that the valve is not implanted with open-heart surgery; the valve is implanted through a neostick in the groin. Patients are normally away; they’re not even asleep for it anymore. It takes about two hours to do and the patients are home usually in two or three days. That’s how you and I will have our heart valves replaced in 20 years, but it’s something that’s reserved for elderly people right now and patients who are at high to intermediate risk for surgery.

As time goes on and more information is given to us, we’re now backing that risk profile down so that that’s going to be the standard of care soon for everyone.

Adam: Well, Dr. Stewart, as always, thanks for your support of this community, all the educational support, of course the care that you’re giving to all the great people out there. Thanks for what you do!

From Immediate Bed Rest to a “Valve-in-Valve” Procedure, This Is Jesse’s Story

By Adam Pick on March 18, 2016

Jesse had been put on immediate bed rest. Jesse had not one… But, two heart surgeries. Then, he needed a third. Jesse learned of a new technology known as a “Valve-in-Valve” procedure that was in clinical trials. This is his story.



Thanks so much to Jesse, Jean, Molly and the entire McBride family for letting me into their home and into their lives. This is the first “Valve-in-Valve” patient success story that I’ve filmed. Hopeful, it will not be the last. 🙂

And… A humongous thanks goes out to Dr. Chris Malaise for helping educate our community about the “Valve-in-Valve” program at Northwestern Medicine. This really is an amazing technology!!!

Keep on tickin!

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Technology Update: Can A Mitral Valve Be Replaced Using A Catheter?

By Adam Pick on March 18, 2016

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I received several questions about the latest technologies including TAVR, sutureless valves and the MitraClip. I also received questions about the new transcather mitral valve replacement device that is currently in a feasibility study.

So… To educate our community, I tracked down Dr. Richard Bae, who manages the interventional echocardiography lab at Minneapolis Heart Institute. Here are the highlights from our chat:



I hope this video helped all of us learn more about transcatheter mitral valve replacement devices that are currently in a feasibility study. Many thanks to Dr. Richard Bae for sharing his clinical experience and research specific to this new therapy. Needless to say, this is very exciting!

Keep on tickin!

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Surgeon Q&A: Is It Safe for Patients with Heart Valve Disease to Exercise?

By Adam Pick on March 10, 2016

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I received a great question from John about exercise and heart valve disease. John, who has a leaking heart valve, asked me, “Does exercise put me at risk?”

To answer John’s question, I was very lucky to interview Dr. Edward Savage from the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida (which is close to Fort Lauderdale). So you know, Dr. Savage is a super nice guy who has successfully treated many patients in our community including Philip Lonigro, Lynda Minkowski and Robert Koch.



I hope this helped John (and perhaps you) learn more about exercise, heart valve disease and symptoms. Many thanks to John for his question and a special thanks goes out to Dr. Edward Savage for sharing his clinical experiences and research with our community!

Keep on tickin!

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The Patient Mind: Before, During & After Heart Surgery

By Adam Pick on February 24, 2016

As many patients and families will tell you… The heart valve surgery process can be an emotional roller coaster. As I personally experienced, there can be wonderful highs (waking up with a fixed heart) and there can be unexpected lows (cardiac depression).

For this reason, I jumped at the chance to interview Dr. Kim Feingold, founder of the Cardiac Behavioral Medicine Service at Northwestern Medicine, and Dr. Duc Thinh Pham, a cardiac surgeon, about their approach to helping patients mentally prepare for surgery.



On behalf of our entire community, I can not thank Dr. Feingold and Dr. Pham for sharing their research and their clinical experiences on this very important topic. In my opinion, these tips are invaluable to having a complete recovery of the body… and the mind!!!

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