Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 20

Atrial Fibrillation After Heart Surgery: What Should Patients Know?

By Adam Pick on November 15, 2017

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I was overwhelmed with wonderful patient questions for our “Ask Adam Anything” event.  For example, Eileen asked me about atrial fibrillation (AFib) which is an abnormal heart rhythm.  Eileen’s question was, “Is atrial fibrillation after heart valve surgery common?”

As you may know… Atrial fibrillation is closely associated with heart valve disease.  For that reason, I wanted to get Eileen an expert opinion.  So, I tracked down Dr. Marc Gillinov who is the new Chair of Cardiac Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.  So you know, Dr. Gillinov is a guru when it comes to valvular heart disease and atrial fibrillation.  You should also know that Dr. Gillinov has successfully treated many, many, many patients from our community including Anita Devine, Jeff Pirofsky and Fran Zilko.

Here are the highlights from my interview with Dr. Gillinov about atrial fibrillation after heart surgery.



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Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. Luis Castro Receives Over 100 Patient Testimonials!

By Adam Pick on November 15, 2017

I am overly excited to share that Dr. Luis Castro just received his 103rd patient testimonial at his surgeon profile.



If you’re not familiar with Dr. Castro, let me introduce you to a special person whose patient-centric approach to cardiac care is fundamentally unique.  Dr. Castro goes above-and-beyond for his patients.  He gives out his cell phone number to his patients.  Dr. Castro goes surfing with his patients.  He educates his patients about each step in the surgical process.  And, most importantly, he delivers excellent surgical results.


Dr. Castro with Tom Fitzmorris (his aortic valve patient)

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Is Aortic Valve Repair A New Global Phenomenon?

By Adam Pick on November 7, 2017

Together, we’ve learned lots about the advantages of mitral valve repair procedures which include long-term durability and freedom from re-operation.  In the process, I’ve attended wonderful mitral valve conferences and I’ve even gone inside live surgeon workshops dedicated to teaching best practices for mitral valve repair.

That said, you might be wondering, “What about aortic valve repair?” and “Why don’t I hear much about aortic valve repair?”.  Unfortunately, our educational efforts specific to aortic valve repair have been minimal.  In the past, I simply haven’t received many patient questions about aortic valve repair.

Well…  It appears that is about to change.  During the recent Heart Valve Summit, I sat down with Dr. Vinay Badhwar, the Professor and Executive Chair of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at West Virginia University Medicine, to get the latest updates on new aortic valve repair devices and techniques.  Here are the exciting highlights from our discussion.



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Aortic Stenosis Progression: Top 5 Facts Patients Should Know

By Adam Pick on October 24, 2017

Aortic stenosis is a wildly misunderstood form of heart disease that impacts 12% of the elderly population. The disease is often mis-diagnosed and often under-treated. This narrowing of the aortic valve is commonly referred to as an “insidious” disease considering (i) its symptoms are regularly and incorrectly discounted to normal aging processes and (ii) patients can be asymptomatic.  As the disease can have fatal implications, I’ve also heard several doctors call aortic stenosis a “silent killer”.


Facts About Aortic Stenosis


As my personal mission is to educate and empower our patient community, I wanted to learn more about aortic stenosis progression.  Specifically, I wanted to dig deeper because so many aortic stenosis patients in our community are in “watchful waiting”.  In watchful waiting, the patient has been diagnosed with aortic stenosis. However, the severity of the disease does not yet require surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).  So you know… I was in the “watchful waiting” for 7 years.

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John’s Photos Go Viral With 5,300 Facebook Likes!

By Adam Pick on October 24, 2017

The power of our patient community never ceases to amaze me. You guys and gals are simply amazing!!!

Interestingly… When you combine our “patient power” with social media, some unexpected and wonderful things can happen that drive awesome awareness to heart valve disease.  For example, John Dodson had aortic valve replacement due to aortic stenosis last week.  During John’s hospital stay, Seth (his son) posted several inspirational photos at John’s journal.  After seeing these inspirational photos, I posted them at our Facebook page.  Then, these photos went viral and were shared all over the world.  In total, John’s pictures had over 5,300 Facebook Likes and 750 Comments.

Here’s John flashing our community two “thumbs-up” just 4 hours after surgery. This one photo had 4,800 Facebook Likes, 619 Comments and 225 Timeline Shares. Fantastic!



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Thanks For The 99% Recommendation Rating!

By Adam Pick on October 24, 2017

I wanted to take a moment to thank the patients and the caregivers who recently completed our online survey about  I really appreciate you taking the time to provide your honest feedback about the things I’m doing to educate and to empower the people in our community.

Your feedback was extraordinary.  And, your ideas will be used to enhance our community and shape our educational content going forward.  I really enjoyed learning about the content you find valuable, the media formats you prefer, and the types of topics you would like addressed in the future.

I would also like to thank you for the positive response to the question, “Would you recommend to a patient?”.  As you might imagine, I’m always nervous when I see the response to this question.  I was overwhelmed to see that 99% of you answered “Yes” to this question.  Yay!



As always, thanks for your support and encouragement specific to this project! Once again, you have made my day, my week, my month, my year!

Keep on tickin!

Surgeon Q&A: What Should Patients Know About Mitral Valve Repair Rings?

By Adam Pick on October 15, 2017

At the recent “Ask Me Anything” session at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago, I received a great question from Maria about heart valve repair rings (also known as annuloplasty rings). Maria wrote to me, “Hi, Adam, two questions. Could you please ask the surgeons about annuloplasty rings, and which styles  and brands have the best track record for long-term effectiveness following a mitral valve repair surgery? Thanks! Maria”

To answer this question, I was very fortunate to interview Dr. Steve Bolling from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, MI.  So you know, Dr. Bolling is a mitral valve repair guru who performs about 350 mitral procedures a year. That said, Dr. Bolling was the perfect person to answer Maria’s question. Here’s what Dr. Bolling shared with me.



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Website Update: New Security Features Go Live!

By Adam Pick on October 14, 2017

I get lots of excellent questions about heart valve disease from our patient community. And, I do my best to answer those questions to help educate and empower people just like you.

Recently, I’ve received a different type of excellent question specific to our website. That question is, “Is secure?”



The simple answer to this question is “Yes”.  This website is designed to be secure.  The long answer to this question is much more complex.  That said, I wanted to share with you several updates specific to the security that protects you, our community and the information shared at this website.

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Ask Adam Anything LIVE at the Heart Valve Summit!!!

By Adam Pick on October 4, 2017

If you have questions about heart valve disease and treatment… Let me get the answers for you from the world’s leading cardiologists and surgeons!!!

That’s right.  Send me your questions now and I’ll get them answered LIVE at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago this Thursday, October 5!

Submit your questions right now at our Facebook Page or in the comments section below.



Looking forward to answering your questions LIVE at the Heart Valve Summit!

Keep on tickin!

We’re #3 On FeedSpot’s Top Heart Blogs!

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2017

This is completely unexpected!  I just learned that ranks #3 in FeedSpot’s Top Heart Blogs for 2017. What an honor!

Personally, I was amazed to see that we ranked above 71 well-known and prestigious websites including the American Heart Association, Medical News Today, the British Heart Foundation, Google News and Unbelievable!



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Barry’s Patient Advice: Find The Best Heart Surgeon for You!

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2017

I have to congratulate Barry for being his own… best… patient advocate.

That’s right.  Given the common referral pattern – from primary care physician to cardiologist to surgeon – it’s fairly easy to let the health system (and the insurance companies) dictate your heart surgeon selection process.  Instead, I always encourage patients to find the right surgeon for them. And, for the patient’s specific valvular disorder.



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Surgeon Q&A: Top 6 Facts About Aortic Aneurysms & Heart Valve Disease

By Adam Pick on September 28, 2017

Many patients diagnosed with heart valve disease can also struggle with other disorders including atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease. Another co-morbid disease that can have a sudden and fatal impact on heart valve patients is an aortic aneurysm. You might recall that an aortic aneurysm pre-maturely took the life of John Ritter, one of my favorite comedians best known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper on Three’s Company.


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MitraClip (Part II): Now For Leaking Tricuspid Valves?

By Adam Pick on September 18, 2017

Big News!!!

In case you missed it, there’s been LOTS of new information flying across the Internet about the use of the minimally invasive MitraClip for… tricuspid valve regurgitation.

That’s right! Let me repeat!  The MitraClip, which is typically used as a transcatheter mitral valve repair device, is now being implanted to help patients with leaking tricuspid valves! If you didn’t know, the MitraClip requires no incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.


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5 Important Facts About the Heart-Lung Machine

By Adam Pick on September 12, 2017

For most patients needing heart valve surgery, a heart-lung machine is typically used during the operation. As you may know, the heart-lung machine enables the surgeon to stop and cool the heart so the valve can be fixed while the heart is not beating.


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Dr. Patrick McCarthy Is First Surgeon to Receive 100 Patient Reviews at HVS!

By Adam Pick on September 8, 2017

I am happy and honored to announce that Dr. Patrick McCarthy just became the first surgeon at to receive 100 patient testimonials at his surgeon profile!!!

That’s right… 100 patients have posted wonderful, authentic and celebratory reviews for Dr. McCarthy and his team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

If you didn’t know… Dr. McCarthy is a heart valve guru. During his career, Dr. McCarthy has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures of which 4,000 involved heart valve therapy. In addition, Dr. McCarthy invented several heart valve devices, has been featured in over 450 publications and… He’s a super nice guy who has built a passionate team that is dedicated to enhancing patient experiences — before, during and after surgery.

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3 Patient Tips For Great Mitral Valve Surgery Results

By Adam Pick on August 10, 2017

I’m a big fan of simple and thoughtful advice for patients. So, when I learned about this new study, “Relation of Mitral Valve Surgery Volume to Repair Rate, Durability & Survival”, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, I wanted to share it with our community.

The study, which is featured at Consumer Reports, reveals that patients who chose surgeons with deep experience in performing a complex mitral valve procedure have a better chance of living longer and not needing additional procedures to correct the problem.


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Facebook Live Event: Let’s Talk About Heart Valve Disease!

By Adam Pick on August 10, 2017

I love patient education! I also really love real-time patient education!

That said, I’m excited to announce a Facebook Live event dedicated to heart valve disease!

Dr. Patrick McCarthy, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine, and Dr. Charles Davidson, medical director at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, will be answering your questions LIVE at from 4 to 4:30 pm CST next Tuesday, August 15.



Join the discussion by logging into next Tuesday at 4pm CST to learn more about valve disease.  You can also post questions here – the doctors will try to answer your questions during the live event.

Keep on tickin!

With 7,200 New Likes in 72 Hours, Our Facebook Page Grows To 260,000 Members!

By Adam Pick on August 10, 2017

Thanks to you… I’m happy to share that the Facebook Page just reached 260,000 members!

In the last 72 hours alone, we welcomed over 7,200 new members to our community.



If you have yet to visit our Facebook page, you can check it out here. As you will see, the HVS Facebook page is great way to connect with patients and learn about valvular disorders and therapies. Plus, we love celebrating inspirational patient stories.

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Will 3D Printed Heart Valves Improve Patient Outcomes?

By Adam Pick on August 2, 2017

I can not keep up with all the new advances in heart valve therapy.  In the last 24 hours, I learned about FDA approvals for the Avalus heart valve by Medtronic and the Inspiris Resilia by Edwards Lifesciences.  I also came across a fascinating story about 3D printing and heart valve replacements.



According to a new study published in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Piedmont Heart Institute, may have found new ways to enhance transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) performance using 3D printing technologies.

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Thanks For Your Condolences & Your Prayers For My Dad, Jerry Pick

By Adam Pick on August 2, 2017

On Friday… I lost a hero, a great friend and my dad at the same time.

After a long and ruthless battle against Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), my dad, Jerry Pick, re-discovered comfort and peace.  At 77 years young, angels swooped down upon his home to disconnect and lift his spirit from a body that had failed him.


Jerry Pick (1940-2017)


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