By Adam Pick on September 29, 2014
If you didn’t know, September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. As up to 35% of patients in our community have heart valve disease AND atrial fibrillation, here are 6 important facts about atrial fibrillation.
1. What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice. Its incidence increases with age and the presence of structural heart disease – like valvular disorders including mitral regurgitation. Stroke and heart failure may result patients with atrial fibrillation.
By Adam Pick on September 26, 2014
Here’s a real quick and important tip for all existing users of Heart Valve Journals in the ‘My Community’ section of the relaunched website….
PLEASE… PLEASE LOGIN USING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND PASSWORD!!!
By Adam Pick on September 10, 2014
Great news! Next Tuesday, September 16, I’ll be speaking at the “Bicuspid Aortic Valve — Beyond The Basics” conference in Chicago. The event, which is hosted by Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Lurie Children’s Hospital is going to be an incredible experience with several leading BAV specialists including Dr. Puthumana, Dr. Fedak, Dr. Young and Dr. Malaisrie.
Please see the the flyer below for details. To register, click here.
Also, if you have just been diagnosed with a bicuspid valve — which is the most common congenital defect affecting up to 2% of the population — here’s a great educational video about BAV with Dr. Paul Fedak.
By Adam Pick on September 3, 2014
Doctors perform more than five million heart surgeries every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These range from stent insertions and open-heart procedures to angioplasties and other cardiovascular procedures. As part of these patients’ recovery plans, many physicians recommend some type of light exercise program. If you’ve undergone heart-related surgery and are looking for a way to be active, tai chi is a terrific option.
Health benefits of tai chi
Over the past several decades, the Chinese martial art known as tai chi has become recognized as an alternative to traditional exercise programs. People of all ages have embraced the low-intensity movements that tai chi offers. As WebMD notes, practicing tai chi on a regular basis can help the body in a number of ways. It improves balance and strength, helps improve mood and reduces chronic pain and discomfort. Tai chi may also help to decrease blood pressure while also boosting cardiovascular function.
By Adam Pick on August 22, 2014
Great news everybody!!!
Thanks to your excellent feedback, ideas and suggestions, we just relaunched HeartValveSurgery.com with over 200 new features.
So you know, our team has been working on this project for 10 months. That said, we are very hopeful that this new interactive platform will educate and empower you through heart valve surgery.
To help you learn about some of the highlights of the new website, I just posted this video. (For the hearing impaired members of our community, you can read the video transcript posted below.)
By Adam Pick on August 12, 2014
Just last week, I was talking to Paul, my neighbor, about our ‘Top 5 Actors’ of all time. With movies like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, and The World According to Garp, the comedian and Oscar-award winning actor, Robin Williams topped my list.
Robin Williams (1951-2014)
I’m guessing that some of you might think I’m a tad bias towards Robin Williams — considering that he had aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair surgery in 2009. But, the truth is… Robin Williams’ valvular work, or “plumbing” as he called it, had zero impact on my discussion with Paul.
By Adam Pick on August 4, 2014
I just received several excellent questions from Mary about bicuspid aortic valve replacement, aorta size and heart valve replacement devices. In her email, Mary writes, “Hi Adam – I want to know whether an enlarged aorta returns to normal after bicuspid valve replacement. Also do you have an opinion as to which is better, bovine or mechanical valve. Thank you.”
To help Mary, I contacted Dr. John Kern, who is the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Virginia Health System. So you know, Dr. Kern has successfully treated several members from our community including Todd Breeden.
In his response, Dr. Kern first answered Mary’s question about the size of the aorta following a bicuspid aortic valve replacement operation:
By Adam Pick on July 24, 2014
I recently received a great question from Elaine about child birth, heart valve disorders and dilated aortic roots. In her email, Elaine writes, “Hi Adam – I have a bicuspid aortic valve and a dilated root of 4.2cm. I am currently 29 weeks pregnant. I was wondering if anyone else has a diagnosis similar to mine and if they were able to deliver naturally instead of C-section?”
Elaine asks a great question. I wanted to get her an expert response, so I contacted Dr. James Wudel, who is a leading heart valve surgeon at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Dr. Wudel, who is a very nice guy, specializes in minimally invasive and transcatheter procedures like TAVR and the MitraClip.
In his response, Dr. Wudel first addressed Elaine’s diagnosis of a bicuspid aortic valve:
By Adam Pick on July 18, 2014
Yesterday, we had an extraordinary webinar with Dr. Allan Stewart about the newest surgical techniques and minimally invasive medical devices for aortic valve and aortic aneurysm surgery. In total, over 300 patients registered for the event!!!
In case you missed this very important webinar, I created a FREE 43-page eBook that you can download right now by clicking here.
Yes, The Webinar Video Is Ready Too!
And… As many of you like to watch the webinar videos instead of reading the transcript, I also created a video recording of the video. You can watch the webinar video by clicking here.
On behalf of our patient and caregiver community, I want to extend a special thanks to Dr. Allan Stewart for sharing their clinical research and patient experiences with our community.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on July 9, 2014
I received a great question from Brent about exercise after heart valve surgery. In his email, Brent writes to me, “Adam – I’m an active guy who likes to play racquetball, swim, hike, bike, golf and bowl. I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and recently told I need surgery. I feel pretty darn good at 66 even though I do get winded a little easier these days. How long after surgery can I do all the things I’m doing now? Is there anything I should do after surgery to help me exercise sooner than later? Thanks, Brent”
To provide Brent a great answer, I contacted Dr. Rawn Salenger, a heart valve surgeon from the University of Maryland, who has a clinical interest in how patient recovery from heart surgery. So you know, Dr. Salenger is an incredibly nice guy, who has successfully operated on many patients from our community including Kathleen Ryan, Gene Bove and Jeffrey Moore.
In Dr. Salenger’s response to Brent’s question, he starts by discussing the advantages of heart valve surgery and the time needed for the sternum to heal:
Webinar Announcement: “Advances in Aortic Valve And Aortic Aneurysm Surgery” with Dr. Stewart & Me on July 17!
By Adam Pick on July 8, 2014
[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart no longer performs surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital.]
Did you know that approximately 40% of all heart valve operations focus on the aortic valve? And… Did you know that many of those procedures include the simultaneous treatment of bulging aortic aneurysms due to conditions like aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation and bicuspid aortic valves?
For these reasons, I will be hosting an educational webinar titled, “Advances in Aortic Valve and Aortic Aneurysm Surgery”, with Dr. Allan Stewart, the Director of Aortic Surgery and Co-Director of the Heart Valve Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. This live, one-hour event is scheduled for Thursday, July 17, at 1:00pm EST. During the webinar, Dr. Stewart and I will share important details about the symptoms, the risks, the surgical options, patient success stories and the latest advances in aortic valve and aneurysm therapy.
To register for this free webinar, click here.
I forgot to mention… During the webinar, you will have an opportunity to ask Dr. Stewart your questions in real-time. That said, this is an excellent opportunity to get all of your questions answered!
By Adam Pick on June 30, 2014
With 500+ social shares, my last post about CoreValve’s accelerated FDA approval suggests that our community is really interested to learn more about transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures.
To help us learn more about TAVR, I recently met with Dr. Alan Malki at the St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino, California. In this video, you will get additional insights from Dr. Malki, who has performed of 2,000 valvular operations, about the treatment of severe aortic stenosis using TAVR devices.
I would like to thank Dr. Malki for taking the time to film this educational video with me. I would also like to thank Dr. Malki for successfully treating so many patients from our community — including Jeanne Baker and Jackie Shafer. 🙂
By Adam Pick on June 19, 2014
In case you missed the big news last week…
The CoreValve, a new transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) device, just received FDA approval for “high risk” patients with severe aortic valve stenosis. It’s big news because this is the second, accelerated FDA approval for this medical device — in less than 6 months. As you might recall, the CoreValve received FDA approval for “inoperable” patients in January.
If you didn’t know, the CoreValve is a next generation TAVR technology that requires no incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.
Yes, you read that correctly! A CoreValve can be implanted in the patient’s heart using very minimally invasive techniques. Furthermore, the CoreValve leverages self-expanding valve technologies to position the valve.
To help you learn about the CoreValve, here is a very interesting video which shows how this next-generation TAVR valve works.
By Adam Pick on June 18, 2014
There really is nothing better than patient success stories. So, when Mark Ridder copied me on this email to Dr. Eric Roselli, his surgeon, I thought, “Woot! Woot! Go Mark! Go!” 🙂
With his permission, here are Mark’s words to Dr. Roselli:
It has been a little over 18 months since my very successful aortic valve replacement surgery performed by you and your Cleveland Clinic surgical team. I’m thrilled to report that I am doing better than ever in my life and I owe so much to you, Edwards Lifesciences and all of the skilled and caring staff at the Cleveland Clinic who made my treatment and recovery possible. The attached picture was taken by my wife (Jane) last Saturday morning at the finish line of the Wichita, Kansas Annual River Run 10K. I ran the 6.2 miles in 1 hour 3 minutes and had no difficulty whatsoever finishing strong. I am blessed to say the least.
Mark Ridder Completes 10K After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
By Adam Pick on June 12, 2014
As we have previously discussed, the heart valve surgery process — from diagnosis to recovery — can be isolating for patients.
Often times, patients say to me, “Adam – I felt like a number, not a person, during this process.” Patients have also shared that the medical system is too overwhelming to deal with. As a result, patients can become frustrated during an already stressful time in their lives.
Needless to say… This is not good for patients, their families and friends.
It is for these reasons that I perked up during a recent discussion with Dr. Hakob Davtyan, a leading cardiac surgeon who has performed over 2,000 heart valve procedures. During our chat, Dr. Davtyan shared a unique approach to patient care in which he strives to create a personal connection with each patient — as if the patient was a member of Dr. Davtyan’s own family.
To illustrate how this approach is helping patients achieve excellent surgical results, I created this video.
By Adam Pick on June 3, 2014
As a follow-up to our recent discussion about Metoprolol, I received this question from John about beta blockers and mitral valve repair surgery. In his email, John writes, “Is there any convincing evidence for using beta blockers following mitral valve surgery? What are the advantages? Or, is this just protocol? Thanks! John”
To provide Jim an expert opinion, I contacted Dr. Federico Milla of the Marcus Heart Valve Center at Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. As you might recall, Doctor Milla is a mitral valve repair specialist who I saw perform several MVRs in the Dominican Republic last year.
Here is Dr. Milla’s response to John. First, he addressed medical research about beta blockers and mitral valve surgery:
By Adam Pick on June 2, 2014
[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart is no longer performing surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital.]
If there is one thing I know about Dr. Allan Stewart, it is that he goes the extra mile for his patients — metaphorically and physically.
Dr. Stewart & Greg O’Keeffe (Patient) Complete Triathlon Together
As one of the first surgeons to support this project — way back in 2009 — Dr. Stewart has rallied around our mission to educate and empower patients.
By Adam Pick on May 27, 2014
I just received several great questions from Vielka about the use of Metoprolol after heart valve surgery. In her email, Vielka was interested to learn “Why patients take Metoprolol after heart valve surgery?”, “Is it common for patients to take Metoprolol after the operation?” and “How long do patients stay on Metoprolol after surgery?”
To get Vielka an expert response, I contacted Dr. Irving Kron, the Chair, Department of Surgery, at the University of Virginia Health System, and a key member of the UVA Advanced Cardiac Valve Center.
By Adam Pick on May 21, 2014
As most of you know…
I did not start this website to win any kind of recognition, trophy or award. I started this website to help people — like you & me — who were dealing with heart valve disease. That said, it did feel very nice to receive the following acknowledgment from Pacific Medical Training earlier today.
If you click here, you can see that HeartValveSurgery.com was just named a “Best Cardiac & Heart Website” for 2014 by PMT.
Many thanks to you for being the main reason why so many people use this website. It is through your care, support, encouragement and interactions that we are collectively helping so many patients, family members and friends all over the world.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on May 19, 2014
Sorry for the late notice, but…
Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at the California Women’s Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center. The conference, which has been going on for over 30 years, has several great speakers this year including Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Ariana Huffington (The Huffington Post).
If you are going to the conference, I’m scheduled to speak at 3:45pm in the Seaside Room #4.
Hope to see you there!