Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 24

“What About Child Birth for Patients with Bicuspid Aortic Valves and Dilated Roots?” Asks Elaine

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?”

 

Child Birth (Natural or C-Section) for Patients with Valve Disease

 

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:

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Free eBook: Download “Advances in Aortic Valve & Aneurysm Surgery” by Dr. Allan Stewart & Me

By Adam Pick on July 18, 2014

Great news!!!

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.

 

Download the Webinar eBook

 

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.

 

Watch the webinar video

 

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!
Adam

“What About Exercising After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Brent

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”

 

Heart Running Cartoon

 

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:

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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.

 

Webinar Announcement - Dr. Allan Stewart - 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!

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Video: Advancing Aortic Stenosis Treatment Using TAVR with Dr. Alan Malki

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. 🙂

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Big Technology Update: CoreValve Gets Accelerated FDA Approval

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.

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Mark Runs ‘Better Than Ever’, Thanks To Dr. Roselli

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:

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, Heart Valve PatientMark Ridder Completes 10K After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

 

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Video: Using Patient-Centric Care to Improve Surgical Outcomes with Dr. Davtyan

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.

 

 

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“What About Beta Blockers After Mitral Valve Repair Surgery?” Asks John

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”

 

Beta Blockers Use Post Mitral Valve Surgery

 

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:

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Dr. Allan Stewart Goes The Extra Mile For His Patients

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. Allan Stewart - Surgeon SpotlightDr. 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.

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“What About Metoprolol After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Vielka

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?”

 

Metoprolol After Heart 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.

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HeartValveSurgery.com Named A “Best Cardiac & Heart” Website!

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.

 

Best Cardiac Website Award

 

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!
Adam

I’m Speaking At The California Women’s Conference; Let’s Connect!

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).

 

Adam Pick Speaking At California Women's Conference

 

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!
Adam

The 4 Good Habits That Promote a Long, Healthy Life

By Adam Pick on May 19, 2014

After I posted the story about my recent Fitbit experience, I received several encouraging comments about the habits and the behaviors that promote a long, healthy life.

In thinking about further…  I think we can agree that fatigue, decreased muscle density and reduced flexibility are all proponents of aging. However, the better care you take of your body, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy the activities you love. At any age, staying healthy means eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and taking care of your mind, body and spirit. Extend and enjoy your life by implementing one or all of the following tips:

 

Healthy Habits

 

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After 7 Heart Surgeries, Liver Failure & Kidney Failure, Irvin Is Beyond Thankful For Dr. Shemin

By Adam Pick on May 14, 2014

If you didn’t know, I moderate all of the patient recommendations we receive at our Surgeon Finder. Earlier today, I saw a testimonial from Irvin that made me think, “That’s incredible! I gotta share this with our community!”

So, without further ado, here is what Irvin posted: Luckily, Dr. Richard Shemin took on my case which was a #9 in difficulty (10 being the most difficult!). He performed my 5th open-heart surgery while I was in kidney and liver failure from my heart valves being in shambles and not getting blood to my organs. I had 7 previous heart surgeries. Four were aortic valve replacements and 3 where pacemaker surgeries all from the time I was age 21 due to a congenital defect in my aortic valve.

 

Dr. Richard Shemin & Heart Valve PatientDr. Richard Shemin with Irvin Solt

 

After one of my last surgeries in 2003, I finally went through a 10 year period of fairly good health. I was even able to lift weights, and worked up to bench pressing up to 250 lbs. Then, in February of 2013, at the age of 59, I wasn’t feeling well. But, I didn’t know why. I eventually saw a kidney specialist who told me that I was in 4th stage kidney failure. My wife and I were shocked!

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Ask the Expert: Safety, Technology & Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on May 6, 2014

As a patient, I distinctly remember the questions that raced through my brain when I learned that I needed open heart surgery. Those questions sounded a little something like “How do they fix my valve?” and “What will the recovery be like?” and “Will it hurt?” and, of course, “Is heart valve surgery safe?”

That last question about safety is critically important for many reasons. So, to learn more about the safety of heart valve procedures, I met with Dr. Christopher Gibson. During our conversation, Dr. Gibson shared many insights about how technology has enhanced the safety and the mortality rates of valvular procedures.

 

 

I hope this video helped you learn how technology is improving the safety and the mortality rates of open heart procedures including heart valve operations.

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Guest Blog: “What the Incision Shield Meant to Me” by Dennis

By Adam Pick on May 1, 2014

Years ago, I learned about a unique product designed to help patients take care of their incision after surgery. The device, called the Incision Shield, protects your incision against unwanted pressure and ensures that no materials (e.g. clothing or linens) rub up against your scar. To see what patients thought about the Incision Shield, I gave away 30 Incision Shields to the members of our community. The response was fantastic.

 

incision-shield-patient-review-dennis

 

A few days ago, I spoke with Dennis, a patient, about his experience with the Incision Shield. Dennis was so excited about the impact of the Incision Shield on his recovery, he ordered 15 more Incision Shields to give away to other heart valve patients.

In a follow-up email, Dennis wrote to me:

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St. Bernardine Launches Heart Valve Clinic Microsite!

By Adam Pick on April 24, 2014

I am very excited to announce that the Inland Empire Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Bernardine Medical Center just launched a new Heart Valve Clinic Microsite at HeartValveSurgery.com. So you know, many patients from our community — including Fred Stieg, Eugenie Magana and Charlene Wasson — have had great surgical outcomes at St. Bernardine.

If you didn’t know… St. Bernardine has been performing open heart procedures for more than 50 years. To see their new microsite, please click here.

St. Bernardine Heart Valve Clinic Microsite

Another interesting fact is that St. Bernardine is one of the largest cardiac programs in Southern California. During 2013, the St. Bernardine team performed over 700 open heart procedures including the full spectrum of valve therapies — including mitral valve repair and aortic valve replacement.

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Cleansing Your Body, Mind & Home After Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2014

You’re home from the hospital. You have a fixed heart.

Most likely, the doctors who performed your heart valve operation sent you home with a list of do’s and dont’s for the early recovery and beyond. So you know, a healthy diet can speed healing and lessen fatigue, according to the American Heart Association, which also recommends a healthy weight and active mind to decrease the amount of work your heart must do to allow for optimal recovery.

 

Healthy Lifestyle After Heart Surgery

 

To clean up your body and mind—and your home, as there are health benefits for doing so—follow your doctor’s advice and these three expert tips:
 
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The Fitbit Helps Me Gain Energy & Lose 17 Pounds

By Adam Pick on April 11, 2014

I’m no Richard Simmons.

I’m also no Body by Jake or Tony Horton (from P90-X).

 

Fitbit Weight Loss

 

I’m just a guy who wants to live a healthy life.

So, on December 31, 2013, myself, Robyn (my wife) and two other couples decided to enter a “2014 Health Challenge”.  For me, the goal of this friendly competition was to feel better through exercise, nutrition and meditation. While weight loss was not my primary goal for joining the challenge, I felt that I could easily lose 15 pounds of unwanted fat that mysteriously attached itself to my gut since I turned 40, two years ago.
 
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