Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 23

Patient Success Story: After TAVR Procedure, John Gerlits Is Out Of The Hospital In Two Days!

By Adam Pick on October 25, 2013

Recently, I met John Gerlits, a patient diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis four years ago. As John had a history of heart disease, he qualified for the new transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. If you didn’t know, TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure in which the aortic valve is replaced without an incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.

 

 

To help patients in our community learn more about John, I created this educational video. In the video, you will also hear from John’s physicians — Dr. Chris Malaisrie, cardiac surgeon, and Dr. James Flaherty, interventional cardiologist — about the use of TAVR for inoperable and high risk patients. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of this video below.

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Free eBook & Video: “Advantages of the Ross Procedure” Webinar

By Adam Pick on October 17, 2013

Great news!

Our recent webinar, “Advantages of the Ross Procedure”, went really well. Over 140 patients and caregivers registered to learn critical insights about aortic valve disease and treatment from Dr. Paul Stelzer, a leading cardiac surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. In particular, the webinar focused on the advantages of the Ross Procedure for patients with valve defects including aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation.

 

Ross Procedure eBook

 

If you were unable to attend the webinar, no worries. I created two ways you can access the information shared during this hour-long event with Dr. Stelzer. You can either:

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Technology Update: The Two-Part Vitality Heart Valve Replacement Explained by Ivan Vesely, Founder of ValveXchange

By Adam Pick on October 15, 2013

New heart valve companies don’t pop up often. The last time there was an innovation rush in this field was about 10 years ago, when several transcatheter heart valve companies were launched to develop valves delivered to the patient’s heart via catheter.  Since that time, the Edwards SAPIEN class of products got FDA approval in the United States, and a whole bunch more are being sold in Europe.

As we have previously discussed, TAVR procedures (also known as TAVI) is really great for patients that are high risk or inoperable. But… What about new valve replacement technologies for patients that are not sick enough for transcatheter valves? Well, there really hasn’t been a start-up company — with a unique approach to valve replacement therapy — in years. Then came… ValveXchange.

 

Ivan Vesely, Founder ValveXchangeIvan Vesely, Founder of ValveXchange

 

Originally started by noted heart valve scientist, Ivan Vesely, and having roots in the internationally renowned Cleveland Clinic, ValveXchange is a development-stage, Colorado-based company that is making waves with it’s two-part valve platform.

To learn more about ValveXchange and its potential implications for our patient community, I interviewed Ivan Vesely, its founder.

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TAVR Specialist, Columbia Heart Valve Center, Launches Microsite!

By Adam Pick on October 13, 2013

I am very happy to announce that the Columbia Heart Valve Center just launched a Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be working with Columbia’s incredible team which includes Dr. Craig Smith, Dr. Martin Leon, Dr. Mathew Williams and Dr. Susheel Kodali.

So you know, the Columbia Heart Valve Center, which is located in New York City, is one of the leading transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) clinics in the United States. Thus far, the Columbia Heart Valve Center has implanted over 900 TAVRs for aortic stenosis patients who are inoperable or at high risk. To learn more about the Columbia Heart Valve Center, please click here.

 

Columbia Heart Valve Center Microsite

 

On behalf of our patient and caregiver community, I would like to thank all of the members of the Columbia Heart Valve Center — with a special thanks to Dr. Williams, Dr. Kodali, Lisa Hathaway, Patricia Knipper, Diane Amato and Deborah Schwarz.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

Join 100 Patients for The Ross Procedure Webinar!

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2013

Great news everybody!

I just learned that over 100 patients have registered for the Ross Procedure Webinar with Dr. Stelzer this Thursday, October 3, at 1pm EST.

That said, we just extended the webinar registration. So, if you would like to participate in this special community event about the Ross Procedure, simply click the link below. There is no cost to join the webinar. All you need is a computer.

 

Click here to register for the Ross Procedure Webinar on October 3!

 

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Keep on tickin!
Adam

“Can a Physically Demanding Job Cause an Early Onset of Heart Valve Disease?” Asks Jerry

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2013

I just received an interesting question from Jerry. In his email, Jerry writes, “Adam, I’m 53 and a recent mitral valve repair and aortic valve replacement patient. My question is… Can a physically demanding profession – like wildland firefighting — contribute to, cause an early onset, or accelerate the development of valve disease in a previously healthy person?”

 

Wildland Firefighter

 

To help Jerry better understand the progression of valvular disease, I contacted Dr. Luis Castro from the Sequoia Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute in Redwood City, California. Doctor Castro offered several interesting thoughts for Jerry that I decided to share with our community. Here is Dr. Castro’s response:

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Inside the Operating Room with Dr. Clifton Lewis for a Robotic Mitral Valve Repair & More

By Adam Pick on September 30, 2013

I just experienced something extraordinary.

After putting on scrubs, a cap and a surgical mask, I went inside a cardiac operating room to observe a robotic mitral valve repair surgery. This high-tech procedure was performed by Dr. Clifton Lewis at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. If you didn’t know, Dr. Lewis is a minimally invasive specialist that has performed over 8,500 cardiac procedures of which more than 3,500 involved valve repairs or valve replacements.

Needless to say, this experience was… very interesting. On one hand, the patient (who suffered from severe mitral regurgitation due to mitral valve prolapse) did incredibly well. The post-operative echo showed no mitral valve leakage following the procedure. On the other hand, I witnessed first-hand how the million dollar robot enabled Dr. Lewis to reconstruct a mitral valve using an annuloplasty ring and a synthetic chordae — from a remote control panel that was 5 feet away from the operating table.

To share this experience with you, I created this video.

 

 

“The robot is really just another surgical instrument,” Dr. Lewis shared with me, “It is under the control of myself and Richard, my physician assistant, who is positioned next to the operating table.”  Thus far, Doctor Lewis has performed over 700 robotic mitral valve procedures. He has also used the robot for tricuspid valve repair procedures as well.

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Special Announcement: Register Now for the Ross Procedure Webinar Hosted by Dr. Paul Stelzer on October 3

By Adam Pick on September 22, 2013

I am very excited to announce that Dr. Paul Stelzer and I will host a live webinar titled, “The Advantages of the Ross Procedure”, on Thursday, October 3 at 1pm EST. As many of you know, Dr. Stelzer has used the Ross Procedure to treat many patients in our community — including Jeff Shebovsky, Chris Dixon, Mark Kroto, Peter Woglom — that were diagnosed with aortic valve disease.

 

Click here to register for the Ross Procedure Webinar on October 3!

 

During this live webinar for patients, their families and friends, Dr. Stelzer is going to discuss aortic valve disease and the different treatment options including the Ross Procedure. Key questions that Dr. Stelzer will address are:

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Surgeon Q&A: “What Determines the Transfemoral or Transapical Approach for TAVR?” Asks Denise

By Adam Pick on September 18, 2013

Given the recent FDA approval of transcateher aortic valve replacement devices (TAVR), I continue to receive interesting questions from our patient community. For example, Denise recently wrote to me, “Hi Adam – My mom is 84 years old and diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. We’re researching the possibility of using the catheter valve to help her. I’ve read that the valve can be inserted through the groin or through the heart. What determines the way in which this valve is implanted? Is one better than the other? Thanks, Denise.”

 

TAVR-Transapical-Transfemoral-Approach

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Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie Advances Valve Therapy With Minimally Invasive Techniques

By Adam Pick on September 4, 2013

I am thrilled to shine our “Surgeon Spotlight” on Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie. Over the years, Dr. Malaisrie’s support of our community has been fantastic. In addition to hosting live educational webinars, Dr. Malaisrie has also filmed several videos to empower our patients through the surgical process. If you are unfamiliar with this incredibly talented and nice surgeon — who has successfully treated many patients in our community including Janis Kielbasa, Fran Bernstein, and Jeff Petto — I encourage you to continue reading this post.

 

Dr. Malaisrie’s approach to heart surgery

As a heart surgeon at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, S. Chris Malaisrie, MD, is accustomed to performing surgery in the operating room every day. But he never forgets there is something new to learn with each operation.

“Heart surgery is a truly enjoyable experience,” says Malaisrie. “To put someone’s circulation on a machine—to maintain their circulation in an artificial circuit, and stop the heart to operate on its internal structures—is an incredible technical feat, and an enormous responsibility.”

 

Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie – Heart Surgeon

 

As associate director for Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s Center for Heart Valve Disease and co-director of its Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program, Malaisrie maintains an intense focus on heart valve research and elevating industry best practices. He believes that valve repair will become a more standard operation than heart valve replacement in the coming years, and that the use of transcatheter heart valves for higher-risk patients will also increase dramatically.

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6 Tips To Prepare You For Heart Surgery Recovery

By Adam Pick on September 3, 2013

After heart surgery, you’ll likely go home with a list of dos and don’ts from your physician. Preparing for surgery beforehand will also help the recovery process go more smoothly and comfortably.

 

Patient Recovering From Heart SurgeryCindy Wilson, Heart Valve Patient, Begins Her Recovery

 

More than 85,000 aortic valve replacements are performed on average in the United States each year, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It’s a life changer, and prepping for the recovery process minimizes risks of short-term and long-term complications.

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“Have The Guidelines For Replacing Aortic Aneurysms Changed For Patients With Bicuspid Aortic Valves?” Asks Barbara

By Adam Pick on September 3, 2013

I just received a great question from Barbara about aortic aneurysms, bicuspid aortic valves and the guidelines used by physicians to determine treatment. In her email, Barbara wrote to me, “Hi Adam – I have a bicuspid aortic valve with stenosis. I also have an aneurysm (4.1 cm) that we have been tracking for a number of years. I have heard that the guidelines for treatment just changed from 5cm to 4.5cm. Is that true? If so, why did the guidelines change? Is this change causing more patients, like me, to get treatment earlier? Thanks, Barbara”

 

Aortic Aneursym GuidelinesDiagram Showing An Aortic Aneurysm

 

Barabara raises a great question considering so many patients in our community experience valvular disorders and aortic aneurysms simultaneously.

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After Traveling from Louisville to Los Angeles… After A Valve Sparing Procedure by Dr. Starnes… Nathan and I Connect

By Adam Pick on August 23, 2013

Several weeks ago, I was fortunate to meet Nathan Higginbotham — a patient from Louisville, Kentucky who was diagnosed with aortic stenosis and an aortic aneurysm. During our phone call, I quickly sensed that Nathan had done his homework. He was asking all the right questions about his upcoming procedure.

 

nathan-higginbotham-dr-starnes-patientNathan and Me (Room 568 at USC Medical Center)

 

When I asked Nathan about his surgeon, he said something like, “I think you know the guy. His name is Dr. Vaughn Starnes.”

I immediately smiled from ear-to-ear.

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Surgeon Q&A: Taking Asymmetric Information Out of the Surgical Process with Dr. John Byrne

By Adam Pick on August 22, 2013

It is very common for patients to be confused when a doctor says to you, “I am sorry. The valve is in bad shape. I think it is time for surgery.”

In that moment… It is likely the doctor is pointing at an ultrasound you can not interpret. In that moment… You may be processing new words, like stenosis, that you have never heard before. In that moment… You may not know the difference between a valve repair or a valve replacement. You may not know the difference between an annuloplasty ring or a pig valve.

 

 Dr. John Byrne, Heart Surgeon
Dr. John Byrne

 

I was recently talking about this moment with Dr. John Byrne, the chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

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New Research: Pets May Boost Heart Health

By Adam Pick on August 15, 2013

If you are a pet owner, you are well aware of the joy that pets bring to your daily life. Pet owners may also receive another added benefit: longevity, according to a recent study by the American Heart Association (AHA).

 

Pets & Heart Health

 

In the May 9 issue of the American Heart Association’s online medical journal, Circulation, the AHA details study findings that pets also offer their owners heart health benefits. Considering that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, as noted by the AHA, this is a potentially lifesaving discovery for some.

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Guest Blog: Jim Talks About Pain, Cardiac Rehab & Mowing Lawns After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

By Adam Pick on August 8, 2013

A common question that patients have before cardiac surgery is, “How much pain will I experience?”

As we have previously discussed, each patient will have a unique experience during recovery. Some patients experience a lot of pain. Some patients experience some pain. And, some patients report no pain. For this reason, most patients will become familiar with a pain scale (see below) during their hospital stay.

 

Jim Swanson - Cardiac Surgery PatientJim Swanson – Aortic Valve Replacement Patient

 

Recently, I received a patient update from Jim Swanson about his experience specific to pain.  I thought you might enjoy Jim’s update, so I posted it below.

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Inside Access: The 2013 Valve Reconstruction Workshop at the Mitral Foundation Center (Video)

By Adam Pick on August 5, 2013

I recently attended a very unique event called the 2013 Valve Reconstruction Workshop at the Mitral Foundation Center. I thought you might like to see how this extraordinary workshop and this state-of-the-art conference center is transforming heart valve treatment… So, I filmed this video.

 

 

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Surgeon Q&A: What Should You Know About Heart Valve Re-operations?

By Adam Pick on August 1, 2013

The good news about heart valve surgery is… It will save your life. The other piece of good news about heart valve surgery is that most patients only need surgery once in their lifetime. For a small group of patients, however, the need for a second surgery may occur. While the thought of going through two cardiac procedures can be quite daunting, the good news is… The second procedure may also save your life.

The more I learn about the complexity of valve re-operations, the more inspired I am to educate our community about this very important topic. For that reason, I just met with Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu, a complex valvular specialist, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. As you will learn in this video, the differences and risks between a first and second surgery — for the patient — are significant.

 

 

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5 Things to Do While Your Heart Mends (After Surgery)

By Adam Pick on July 29, 2013

Keeping yourself entertained without leaving the limited vicinity of your hospital or home can be a challenge during the recovery from cardiac surgery. Searching for a solution can be a source of mental stimulation in and of itself. Although it might be tempting to spend your days immersed in soap operas or taking long cat naps, you’ll find that you feel more fulfilled and proud at the end of the day when you spend your time productively. So, if you want your recovery time to go by faster, preoccupy yourself with these five fun projects you can do while recovering from heart surgery.

 

patient-recovering-roses-gardening

 

1. Learn a Language

Even with all of your extra free time, you shouldn’t rely on yourself alone to learn an entirely new language. Frustration and overexertion are only bound to make you quit before you even master the basics. Use a resource like the Rosetta Stone to develop a holistic education through visual and aural software, speech recognition technology and the social network Rosetta World.

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Special Video Interview: The Advantages of the Ross Procedure with Dr. Paul Stelzer & Peter Woglom

By Adam Pick on July 23, 2013

I receive a lot of questions about the Ross Procedure from patients with aortic valve disease. For that reason, I traveled to New York to film an educational video with Dr. Paul Stelzer, a leading Ross procedure surgeon, and Peter Woglom, one of his patient success stories.

So you know, Dr. Stelzer has performed over 500 Ross Procedures during his 32-year career. Many patients from our community, including Jeff Shebovsky, Mark Kroto and Chris Dixon, have had successful Ross operations thanks to this valve guru — who often sings in a barbershop quartet.

 

 

I would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Stelzer for his dedication and pursuit of healthy heart valves. I would also like to thank Dr. Stelzer for his ongoing support of the patients and caregivers in our community.

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