Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 20

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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At 14,505 Feet, Dave is a Mountain of Inspiration!

By Adam Pick on September 22, 2015

A man. A bicuspid aortic valve. A heart valve surgery. A mountain of inspiration.

This is the story of Dave Augustus…

In March of 2014, I was told during my annual visit to the cardiologist that it was time to replace my bicuspid aortic valve.  Even though I have known for over 30 years that this was in my future, nothing could have prepared me for the range of emotions that I processed after hearing those words from my doctor.


Dave Augustus - Heart valve patient


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Surgeon Q&A: Are There Alternative Access Points For Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

By Adam Pick on September 17, 2015

I’m getting a lot of questions about transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures. A common question I get has to do with the different access points by which a TAVR can be implanted.



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Sentara Heart Hospital Launches Heart Valve Microsite!

By Adam Pick on September 17, 2015

Earlier this year, I was very fortunate to tour the Sentara Heart Valve Center in Norfolk, Virginia. During my visit, I met several members of the Sentara team and filmed an educational video with Dr. Philpott about the concomitant treatment of heart valve disease and atrial fibrillation.


Dr. Jonathan Philpott & Adam PickDr. Philpott & Me at Sentara’s Heart Valve Center


Today, I am very excited to announce that Sentara Heart Hospital just launched a Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at! To experience it, click here.

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

By Adam Pick on September 2, 2015

When I started this website nine years ago, I had a dream. My dream was that someday heart valve patients would connect in real-time to share their experiences as a community.

Well, that dream transformed into reality when Edwards Lifesciences, a leading heart valve manufacturer, volunteered to host “Patient Day” at its headquarters in Irvine, California. To capture the special moments of this event, Edwards hired our team to film this video.



On behalf of the patients and the caregivers of, I want to extend a mighty thanks to Carla Asta, Amanda Fowler, Katrina Headle, Sarah Huoh, Mike Mussallem and the entire Edwards team for empowering the patient voice at “Patient Day”.

Keep on tickin!

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Surgeon Q&A: What are the Top 5 Misconceptions about Atrial Fibrillation?

By Adam Pick on September 1, 2015

If you didn’t know, September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. This is really important for our community as up to 35% of heart valve patients are more likely to have atrial fibrillation (AFib).


Atrial Fibrillation


As you might imagine… Many patients are often confused when diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. For this reason, I reached out to Dr. Gan Dunnington, a heart surgeon who specializes in AFib therapy, to learn more. During our exchange, I asked Dr. Dunnington the question, “What are the Top 5 Misconceptions About Atrial Fibrillation?”

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Inside Access: What Should All Patients Know About the Mitral Conclave?

By Adam Pick on August 18, 2015

Did you know that over 1,000 surgeons and cardiologists recently met in New York City for the Mitral Conclave conference? Curious to know why and how this extraordinary, two-day event is transforming heart valve therapy?

To answer these questions, I filmed this video to take you inside the… Mitral Conclave.



Isn’t the Mitral Conclave amazing? I mean… 1,000 doctors… Spending two days… Talking about the mitral valve and related cardiac disorders.  And, why? To improve the health and the lives of patients — like you and me.  Wonderful! 🙂

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Minneapolis Heart Institute Launches Heart Valve Microsite!

By Adam Pick on August 18, 2015

I am very excited to announce that the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital just launched a Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at!

During the past year, I’ve learned a lot about the Minneapolis Heart Institute from Dr. Robert Saeid Farivar, its Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and its patients including Tammi Gunwall and Julie McDonald-Lundgren. So you know, the Minneapolis Heart Institute has developed specialized skills and expertise related to the diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease.


Minneapolis Heart Institute Heart Valve Center


Most recently, we featured the Minneapolis Heart Institute for its innovative work specific to transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR) devices. As you can read here, Dr. Farivar and his team has successfully implanted TMVRs during the Tendyne feasibility study.


Many Thanks to Minneapolis Heart Institute!

On behalf of our patient and caregiver community, many thanks to the entire Minneapolis Heart Insitute team for supporting this website and our community! A special thanks goes out to Dr. Farivar, Dr. Sorajja, Dr. Eales, Dr. Grehan, Andrea Sweeney and Elizabeth Przybyiski!

Keep on tickin!

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