By Adam Pick on February 23, 2013
My dad, Jerry, just sent me this interesting note about the human body…
By Adam Pick on February 21, 2013
I received a great question from Ken. In his email, Ken writes, “Hi Adam – After being diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in 1995, I now need surgery to fix the valve. During my research, I have come across robotic valve repair surgery. My question… Is this procedure safe compared to a sternotomy?””
To answer Ken’s question, I recently met with Dr. T. Sloane Guy, MD, a leading heart surgeon. The highlights of our conversation are provided in this video interview. (For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.)
By Adam Pick on February 19, 2013
At the recent STS conference in Los Angeles, I was able to meet and discuss several important topics about heart valve surgery with leading cardiac surgeons.
In this video, Dr. Marc Gerdisch, MD, who recently performed mitral valve repair on Angie Gregory, addressed a common misconception among patients who have been diagnosed with severe mitral valve disease. That misconception is that a heart valve replacement is better than a heart valve repair. To learn more, please press play on the video. Also, I have included a written transcript for the hearing impaired members of our community below.
By Adam Pick on February 18, 2013
Over the past few months, I’ve received several pieces of constructive criticism that we needed to create a video library. Both patients and caregivers shared with me that our original videos were very helpful but scattered all over the website. I completely agreed.
Well… Today, I’m happy to announce that we just launched a new ‘Educational Video Library’ at HeartValveSurgery.com. It’s not perfect. It still needs work. But, I thought you might like to see the new section of the website — which is now reachable by clicking the ‘Videos’ link in the top navigation. You can also, click here.
By Adam Pick on February 18, 2013
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on February 12, 2013
One of the unfortunate realities of heart valve surgery is the possibility of a re-operation. Patients may need a re-operation due to valve device failure, post-operative issues relating to heart valve repair or the progression of valve disease.
To learn more about heart valve re-operations, I recently met with Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu, MD. So you know, Dr. Anyanwu specializes in complex, heart valve re-operations at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. The highlights of our discussion are provided in this video interview. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.
While re-operations may be part of a patient’s long-term treatment of valve therapy, I know that if my own heart valve replacements should fail in the future… I’d prefer having another operation compared to the fatal alternative.
By Adam Pick on February 11, 2013
As many patients will tell you… Waking up in an intensive care unit (ICU) after heart valve surgery can be a very dislocating experience. Personally, I remember thinking, “Holy moly! What the heck just happened? What are all those noises? And, why is this massive tube stuck down my throat?”
For that reason, I am always incredibly sensitive to patient questions that address time spent in the ICU. As you will read below, I recently received a question from a Concerned Wife about dementia and delirium after cardiac surgery.
By Adam Pick on February 2, 2013
Since launching this website 6 years ago, Mitch Friedman has stood out as an extraordinary members of patient and caregiver community. As many of you know, Mitch has provided both on-line and off-line support to many, many, many patients searching for answers and guidance about heart valve surgery.
Today is Mitch’s first anniversary from aortic valve and root replacement surgery. That said, I would like to take a moment to thank Mitch for all of his help, his time, his encouragement and all of his wonderful support to the patients and caregivers who visit this website.
Mitch Friedman – Aortic Valve Replacement Patient
It’s no surprise to me that Mitch is taking advantage of his “Second-Chance” at life. So you know, Dr. Leonard Girardi performed the successful aortic valve replacement and aortic root replacement surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center.
As you can see above, Mitch has dedicated himself to running. In a recent note, Mitch wrote to me, “I hope all is well with you and your family. I am doing very well. I could not be better. I am training for my second half marathon since surgery. My first half marathon was 8 months post-op. My second half-marathon will be in March — just 13 months following my heart valve replacement. So yeah, things are good with me.”
Keep on tickin’ and runnin’ Mitch!
Surgeon Interview: Understanding Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Valve Surgery with Dr. Hyde Russell
By Adam Pick on February 1, 2013
One educational area that I plan to discuss more in the future is pediatric and adult congenital heart valve surgery. While we have discussed this topic in the past, the amount of educational content at this website for children, parents, grandparents and friends is not overwhelming.
For that reason, I recently met with Dr. Hyde Russell, MD, a pediatric and adult congenital heart surgeon, during a recent trip to Chicago. The highlights of our discussion are provided in the video below. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.
By Adam Pick on January 31, 2013
I just learned that during February — which is Heart Awareness Month — the Cleveland Clinic will be hosting several, educational web chats. As shown on the schedule below, this is a special opportunity to connect with the leading cardiologists and heart surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic. To learn more or register for these events, please click here.
If you are evaluating a heart valve repair or heart valve replacement procedure, I would strongly encourage you to attend these online events. To learn more or register for these events, please click here.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on January 24, 2013
The patient success stories and surgeon testimonials continue to roll in. This time, Angie Gregory sent me a fantastic update following her mitral valve repair surgery.
Angie Gregory – Mitral Valve Repair Patient
In her note, Angie writes:
By Adam Pick on January 18, 2013
I just received an interesting email from Jesse regarding mitral regurgitation, heart failure and echocardiograms.
Jesse writes to me, “Hi Adam – I recently learned that I suffer from severe mitral regurgitation. While I was diagnosed with a heart murmur many years ago, it appears the disease progressed quickly. I haven’t had an echo for a few years and I’m now short of breath constantly. My cardiologist used the term ‘heart failure’ during my last appointment. I’m curious to know what echocardiogram readings determine that I am approaching heart failure? I’m looking at an echocardiogram print-out and do not understand any of the numbers in front of me. Or, is heart failure diagnosed just by my symptoms? Can you help me?”
I wanted to provide Jesse an expert response, so I contacted Doctor Hiroo Takayama from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. So you know, Dr. Takayama is an assistant professor of surgery and recent recipient of 2012 the Dwight C. McGoon Award for educating and mentoring cardiac surgery physicians in training. Heart failure is one of Dr. Takyama’s specialties.
By Adam Pick on January 15, 2013
I just received a great, 3-year anniversary update from Patricia Shabel of Los Angeles, California. Patricia had a mitral valve repair operation after being diagnosed with a heart murmur and a leaky valve over 40 years ago.
Patricia Shabel – Mitral Valve Repair Patient
In her note, Patricia writes to me:
By Adam Pick on January 15, 2013
I just received an interesting question from Gwen about the treatment of calcified heart valves.
Gwen writes, “Hi Adam – I was diagnosed with a murmur 12 years ago when I was 49 years old. It’s gotten worse and I’m told that I need surgery. My cardiologist said that the valve has severe aortic stenosis and the valve is calcified. I’m curious to know… Is it ever possible for the surgeons to “de-calcify” the valve without having to repair of replace the valve or its leaflets?”
Calcified Aortic Heart Valve (Aortic Stenosis
To provide Gwen an expert response, I contacted Doctor Junaid Khan, the Director of Cardiovascular Services at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. As you may have seen, Dr. Khan and Alta Bates have hosted several educational seminars for patients in Northern California.
By Adam Pick on January 8, 2013
[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart is no longer performing surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.]
I just received a patient testimonial that made me stop and think, “Wow! That is great!”
As you can read below, Mark Lampersberger, who was operated on December 12, 2012, had a literal and metaphorical ‘change of heart’ after connecting with Dr. Allan Stewart, the Director of the Aortic Surgery Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
Mark Lampersberger with Christian (8-months old)
By Adam Pick on January 8, 2013
As we continue to monitor the newest technologies enhancing valvular therapy, I though you might like to know that the NeoChord mitral valve repair system recently received a CE mark for use in Europe.
This unique device, which is not FDA approved in America, enables minimally invasive implantation of artificial chordae using a catheter-based approach. If you did not know, the chordae support the mitral valve leaflets as they open-and-close to move the blood through your heart. If the chordae fail to function properly — due to degenerative (age) or other factors — mitral valve regurgitation can result in the patient.
Similar to other catheter-based technologies, also known as percutaneous technologies, use of the NeoChord does not require any trauma to the patient’s ribs or sternum AND the patient does not need to go on the heart-lung machine.
By Adam Pick on December 24, 2012
On Friday, I celebrated my 7th anniversary from heart valve surgery.
The day was filled with many happy emotions. In particular, the emotion of thankfulness was present. I am so incredibly thankful for the medical miracle that has extended my life and provided me the opportunity to marry Robyn and bring Ethan, our son, into this world.
In addition, I am beyond thankful for the patients, family members and friends who visit this website. Thanks to your help, your participation, your ideas, your caring thoughts, and your love, we have created a special resource that will help patients for years to come.
That said, I would like to wish you the happiest of holidays!
All the best in 2013!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on December 20, 2012
Since launching this website 6 years ago, the patients within our community have touched, moved and inspired me with their extraordinary stories.
This time, Eric Rovin from Chicago, Illinois, has made me smile from ear-to-ear. So you know, Eric was recently diagnosed with severe aortic regurgitation resulting from a bicuspid aortic valve. As I read Eric’s story, I could relate to much of what he shared. If you have yet to visit Eric’s journal, click here.
Eric Rovin with Justine
Ready for the good news? Eric had a successful aortic valve surgery last Tuesday. Doctor Kenneth McCurry, from the Cleveland Clinic, was able to reconstruct Eric’s valve using an aortic valve repair technique. Yeah!
Ready for the unexpected, amazing, fantastic, incredible news? Two days after the surgery — while in the hospital — Eric surprised his girlfriend by getting down on one knee and proposing marriage. As Justine, Eric’s fiance, wrote in his journal:
By Adam Pick on December 19, 2012
Lately, my inbox has been filled with great questions from patients all over the world. For example, Kerrigan, Simone and Tina just asked me about tissue valve replacement selection, Coumadin and atrial fibrillation.
To answers these questions, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. T. Sloane Guy, who is the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his career, Dr. Guy has performed over 2,000 cardiac procedures of which 50% included either heart valve replacement operations or heart valve repair therapy. As you can read below, Dr. Guy took the time to respond to each question from Kerrigan, Simone and Tina.
Dr. T. Sloane Guy – Heart Valve Surgeon
Question #1 – Kerrigan asks, “Have porcine aortic replacement valves fallen out of favor with bovine valves taking the lead? It seems like we are hearing about bovine these days and not porcine as the valve of choice for aortic valve replacements. What, if any, are the advantages of bovine valves over porcine valves?”
Response from Dr. T. Sloane Guy: Modern bioprosthetic valves are made of a variety of different tissues including cow (bovine) pericardium, actual pig (porcine) valves, and horse pericardium as well. All tissue valves are subject to degeneration over time and degenerate more quickly in younger patients which is why the American Heart Association guidelines recommend tissue valves for patients 65 years and older. Whether one type of tissue or another is “better” is very debatable and, in my opinion, unclear. Of course, the various companies that sell the valves promote the notion that their valve is superior. The truth is that they all have slightly different features but in order to get approved by the FDA had to go through incredibly rigorous testing and may in fact not be as different as suggested.
By Adam Pick on December 6, 2012
Today, I was very fortunate to attend the Dallas-Leipzig Valve Conference in Dallas, Texas. While I had heard of this conference in the past, I had no idea about this size of the conference, its world renown faculty or its Transatlantic approach to education.
Interestingly… Each year, the host city of the conference alternates between Leipzig, Germany and Dallas, Texas.
The goal of the conference, as I understand it, is to bring together valve specialists — both cardiologists and surgeons — to engage in meaningful lectures, case studies, and debates about best practices for valvular therapy.