Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 19

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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Which 8 Numbers Lower Heart Disease Risk Factors?

By Adam Pick on February 19, 2016

Ready to learn 8 important numbers that lower risk factors for heart disease? If so, check out this awesome new infographic from Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular to celebrate Heart Month!




Many thanks to Dr. Thomas Molloy and Adam Lee at Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular for sending over this educational infographic!

We really appreciate your ongoing support of our community!

Keep on tickin!

Launching Now: Smiling Scar Selfie Team App!!!

By Adam Pick on February 12, 2016

Have you noticed something? The patients in our community have been posting wonderful Selfies after their surgeries. Actually, they’re not just smiling… They’re also showing off their scars as a badge of courage. It’s beyond inspirational for our community and for future patients. However, there was no “home” for these selfies. 🙁

Well… I wanted to do something about that.

So… Today we’re officially launching the Smiling Scar Selfie Team app!!! 🙂

You can learn all about it in the quick video below.



I’m very hopeful the Smiling Scar Selfie Team app will be inspirational and fun for our whole community. I would also like to thank all of our sponsors who made this possible and a special thanks to Darshan Kahler and the Tradable Bits team who developed this unique application.

Keep on tickin!

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Technology Update: FDA Approves Perceval Sutureless Heart Valve; 7 Facts You Need To Know

By Adam Pick on January 26, 2016

In case you missed it… The Perceval Sutureless Heart Valve just received a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval on January 11, 2016. This is really big news as the Perceval is the first rapid-deployment, sutureless heart valve for patients with aortic stenosis.




To educate our patient community about the significant implications of the Perceval’s FDA approval, I contacted three leading cardiac surgeons who were part of the clinical trials which led to Perceval’s FDA approval – Dr. Niv Ad, Dr. Gorav Ailawadi and Dr. Eric Roselli.




1. Why is the FDA approval of the Perceval Sutureless Valve important for the evolution of valve therapy?

Dr. Eric Roselli, who is the Director of the Aortic Center at the Cleveland Clinic, wrote to me, “Most simply, it provides us another option in the surgical treatment of aortic valve disease. As a sutureless device it can be delivered and fixed into the heart faster than a conventional sutured repair. Because it is collapsible, it may facilitate the use of less invasive approaches like mini right thoracotomy which is currently only offered at a few centers. It is somewhat of a hybrid approach with benefits of simplicity like TAVR while maintaining the benefits of surgical AVR like excision of the native aortic valve and a very low rate of perivalvular leak.

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Theoretical Physicist, Boris Kayser, Travels to New York for Mitral Valve Surgery & Bagels!

By Adam Pick on January 23, 2016

[This story is brought to you by the Mitral Foundation in collaboration with]

It’s not everyday I get a chance to meet a world-renowned, theoretical physicist who works at Fermilab.

So… When I heard that Boris Kayser, a guru in the field of Neutrinos, had a story to tell about his mitral valve repair surgery, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to film this educational video for the Mitral Foundation.



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Surgeon Q&A: Will A Mechanical Heart Valve Replacement Stop Atrial Fibrillation?

By Adam Pick on January 23, 2016

During the Heart Valve Summit, I received some great questions from our community. One of the questions from Leslie at our Facebook page was, “After several years of paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and a prolapsed mitral valve, I finally had my bad valve replaced by a mechanical mitral valve. Will this stop my AFib?”

To answer Leslie’s question, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. John Johnkoski. So you know, Dr. Johnkoski is a cardiac surgeon and the Co-Director of the Atrial Fibrillation Clinic at Aspirus in Wausau, Wisconsin.



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Chicago Bulls Coach, Fred Hoiberg, Opens Up About His Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on January 13, 2016

Imagine your childhood dream of becoming a professional basketball player has come true. Imagine you are leading the NBA in 3-point shooting. Imagine you are in the prime of your career. Then… Imagine you are unexpectedly diagnosed with a life-threatening aortic aneurysm due to a bicuspid aortic valve.

What would you do? How would you handle it? What would you tell your family? What would you tell your team? Which valve replacement would you chose? This is the story of Fred Hoiberg…



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Thanks to the MitraClip, Charlotte Cummings is Walking Again!

By Adam Pick on January 13, 2016

Charlotte Cummings, 81, could no longer walk the streets of Chicago due to shortness of breath and fatigue. She suffered from severe mitral valve regurgitation and other health concerns. Unfortunately, Charlotte was not a candidate for mitral valve surgery due to the risks associated with traditional surgical approaches.

Then, Charlotte’s medical team told her about the MitraClip, a new transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) device. This is her story…



Many thanks to Charlotte for taking the time to meet with me and share her story. I would also like to thank Dr. Chris Malaisrie, Dr. Mark Ricciardi and Dr. Mehlman for their wonderful care of Charlotte at Northwestern.

Keep on tickin’ Charlotte!

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Top 10 Heart Valve Stories of 2015!

By Adam Pick on December 31, 2015

2015 was another amazing year for our community!

As we prepare to enter 2016, I thought it might be helpful (and fun) to look back at the stories that inspired us, educated us and moved us to share our heart valve experiences.



10. The Heart Valve Summit Gets Big Applause

In October, we were very lucky to attend the Heart Valve Summit, a special conference where 500+ surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, and medical professionals gather to discuss the latest therapies to treat heart valve disease. When we posted several pictures from the 3-day event in Chicago, our community quickly responded with appreciation and thankfulness as 950+ people ‘Liked’ our photos at Facebook. To see the photos, click here.



9. Linda Returns To Her Garden!

There is nothing better than a great patient success story. So, in February, our video team traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to meet Linda Kincaid and her daughter, Kristen. This educational video was sponsored by the Alliance for Aging Research which recently launched LivingWithValveDisease.0rg, a new website for seniors with heart valve disease. Upon posting Linda’s video, this wonderful story racked up over 1,000 Facebook Likes. (Fyi, Linda’s surgery was performed by Dr. Marc Gerdisch.)

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Cardiologist Q&A: What Should You Know About Atrioventricular Block After Heart Valve Surgery?

By Adam Pick on December 9, 2015

I received several great questions during our ‘Ask Me Anything’ video series at the Heart Valve Summit. For example, Pamela posted at our Facebook page, “Can you talk about Atrioventricular Block after heart valve surgery?”

To answer Pamela’s question, I was very lucky to connect with Dr. Robert Bonow, the former president of the American Heart Association, one of the lead authors of the 2014 Heart Valve Management Guidelines and a Professor of Cardiology at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. So you know, Dr. Bonow is a great guy who has treated many patients from our community. 🙂

Here is Dr. Bonow’s response to Pamela’s question…



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At Edwards Lifesciences Patient Day 2015, Stewart Gully Can’t Hold Back Tears of Joy!

By Adam Pick on November 17, 2015

At Edwards Lifesciences Patient Day 2015, Stewart Gully can’t hold back tears of joy, thankfulness and appreciation.

Watch this video to learn why…



Many, many, many thanks to Stewart for sharing his experiences and his emotions with our community!

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Free Webinar eBook & Video: “What Should You Know About Heart Valves & Atrial Fibrillation?”

By Adam Pick on November 13, 2015

Great news. If you missed our recent webinar, “What Should You Know About Heart Valves & Atrial Fibrillation?” with Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Dr. James Thomas, Jane Kruse and myself, you can now download the free eBook by clicking here.


Free Heart Valve & Atrial Fibrillation eBook


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Surgeon Q&A: “Does One Valve Surgery Lead To Another?” asks Melanie

By Adam Pick on November 5, 2015

At the awesome Heart Valve Summit, I received a bunch of great questions for our ‘Ask Me Anything’ video series. For example, Melanie-Ann asked me, “If one valve has been replaced… Does it make it more likely that another valve will have to be repaired or replaced later on?”

To answer Melanie-Ann’s question, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. Glenn Barnhart, who is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery and Executive Director of Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute in Seattle, Washington. So you know, Dr. Barnhart is a valve specialist having completed over 2,000 procedures. In our community, Dr. Barnhart has successfully treated patients including Marjorie Peterson, Rob Fairchild and Michael Marthaller. 🙂

Here’s the highlights from my chat with Dr. Barnhart…



Many thanks to Melanie-Ann for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Glenn Barnhart for sharing his clinical experiences and research with our community!

Keep on tickin!

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Surgeon Q&A: “When Should The Mitral Valve Be Repaired?” asks Pamela

By Adam Pick on November 3, 2015

For our next ‘Ask Me Anything’ video from the Heart Valve Summit, we’re going to answer a great question from Pamela. In her Facebook post, Pamela asks, “When should the mitral valve be repaired?”

To answer Pamela’s question, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. Marc Gillinov from the Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Gillinov is a valve guru having performed over 5,000 heart valve procedures during his career. Dr. Gillinov is also the co-author of Heart 411. And, Dr. Gillinov has successfully treated over 100 patients from our community! 🙂

Here are the highlights from my conversation with Dr. Gillinov:



Many thanks to Pamela for her question! And, a special thanks to Dr. Marc Gillinov for sharing his clinical experiences and research with our patient and caregiver community.

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Webinar Announced: “What Should You Know About Heart Valves & Atrial Fibrillation?” on November 4

By Adam Pick on October 29, 2015

As 35% of patients with heart valve disease are more likely to have atrial fibrillation, I am very excited to announce that we will host a live patient webinar, “What Should You Know About Heart Valves & AFib?” next Wednesday, November 4, at 5pm CST.

Guest speakers include Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the chief of cardiac surgery, and Dr. James Thomas, the director of the Center for Heart Valve Disease, at Northwestern Medicine…. And me!!!

Space is limited to the first 100 registrants. To sign up now, click here.


Heart Valve & Atrial Fibrillation Webinar


Looking forward to talking with you live at the webinar!!!

Keep on tickin!

Surgeon Q&A: “How Durable Is A Heart Valve Repair Ring?” asks Diane

By Adam Pick on October 20, 2015

During our recent “Ask Me Anything” video series, I received a great question from Diane McKee. In her email, Diane writes, “I had a mitral valve repair 20 years ago. Is the heart valve repair ring going to last a life span?”

To answer Diane’s question about annuoloplasty ring durability, I met with Dr. Steven Bolling, who is the Director of the Mitral Valve Clinic at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Here is Dr. Bolling’s response:



I hope that helped Diane (and perhaps you) learn more about the durability of the annuloplasty rings that are used to repair mitral valves. Thanks to Diane for her question and a special thanks to Dr. Steven Bolling for sharing his clinical experience and research with our patient community.

Keep on tickin!

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Inside Look: Surgical Tools that Reduce Stroke Risk from Atrial Fibrillation

By Adam Pick on October 12, 2015

During the Heart Valve Summit, I received many questions about heart valve disease and Atrial Fibrillation.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to edit and post those videos. In the meantime, I thought you might like to watch this video which talks about AFib and the ways it can be treated using surgical techniques.



Many thanks to the Atricure team for making me aware of this video. I hope you enjoy it!

Keep on tickin!

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

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Ask Me Anything #1: “Does Mitral Regurgitation Cause Tricuspid Regurgitation?”

By Adam Pick on October 8, 2015

You asked the questions! We got the answers! That’s right… We’re ready to start our “Ask Me Anything” video series that was just filmed at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago.

Let’s start with George’s question, “Does mitral valve regurgitation cause tricuspid valve regurgitation?” To get the answer, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. David Adams, one of the course directors of the Heart Valve Summit and the Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.



Many thanks to George for his questions and a special thanks to Dr. David Adams for his extraordinary support of our patients and our community. So you know, Dr. Adams has successfully treated over 100 patients at this website!

Keep on tickin!

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Yes Karen! We Just Launched A MitraClip Microsite!

By Adam Pick on September 25, 2015

I’ve shared the wonderful MitraClip success story of Kato Pomer before.

However… I’ve been much less vocal about the success story of Karen Pomer, Kato’s daughter. If you didn’t know… It was Karen who tenaciously advocated for her 92-year old mother to receive the MitraClip, in 2009, when the device was still in a clinical trial. (Originally, Kato was told that she did not qualify to participate in the clinical trial.)


MitraClip Patient Success StoriesKaren & Kato Pomer (MitraClip Patient)


Now… Six years later…

  • Kato just celebrated her 98th birthday. Yay!
  • Karen continues to drive awareness to the device that Kato calls the “Miracle Clip”.
  • The MitraClip has gone on to receive FDA-approval and help patients all over the world.
  • I’ve received many patient inquiries about this transcatheter mitral valve repair therapy.

For these reasons… I’m very excited to announced the launch of the MitraClip Microsite. I designed this educational platform to provide a boat-load of information and patient success stories about the MitraClip on one simple page. See the Mitraclip Microsite here.


MitraClip Microsite Picture


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