Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 28

Patient Update: 5 Years After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery, Jim Is ‘Not Putting Things Off’

By Adam Pick on August 3, 2012

My inbox continues to receive success stories from patients all over the world — especially after Theresa’s recent post.

In particular, I received a note from Jim Bonk, an aortic valve and root replacement patient from San Diego, California. So you know, Jim posted the first ‘Guest Blog’ at HeartValveSurgery.com way back in 2007. That said, I was excited to open Jim’s email.

 


Jeanne & Jim Bonk – Aortic Valve Replacement Patient In Russia

 

Well… Five years after surgery, Jim’s positive attitude towards his surgery and his ‘Second Chance’ at life continues.

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Guest Post: After Bicuspid Valve Replacement Surgery, Theresa Focuses On Recovery Progress

By Adam Pick on July 27, 2012

One of my favorite parts of this project is hearing from patients after their surgeries. Yesterday, Theresa sent me a thoughtful note that touched on several elements of the surgical process. That said, I thought you might like to read and learn from Theresa’s experience.

 

Theresa Lomanco - Heart Surgery Patient With Red Heart Pillow
Theresa LoMonaco – Heart Valve Replacement Patient

 

Here is Theresa’s note:

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Connect To 500+ Patients With A ‘Like’ At Our New Facebook Page!

By Adam Pick on July 26, 2012

Great news!

If you didn’t know, our new Facebook page is gaining momentum. With over 500 fans, the conversations among our patients are educational and empowering. To see and ‘Like’ our Facebook page, click here.

 

Facebook Fan Page Of Patient Advocacy Website

 

So you know, our Facebook page has several educational videos and inspirational patient success stories.

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Denise and Connie, Heart Valve Journals Sisters, Connect At Cleveland Clinic

By Adam Pick on July 20, 2012

First, it was Jim and Jeff at Mount Sinai. Then, it was Cheryl and the Florida Valve Reunion. Next, it was Tom and Trent at The Heart Hospital. This time, it’s Denise and Connie at the Cleveland Clinic.

It’s really amazing to see how Heart Valve Journals, our social network, is connecting patients all around the world — both online and offline.

 

Denise, Connie, Dr. Roselli & Dr. Svensson

 

As you can see in the picture above, Denise and Connie, aka Heart Valve Journals Sisters, just met in-person at the Cleveland Clinic. FYI, Denise had mitral valve repair surgery with Dr. Eric Roselli on May 29. As for Connie, Dr. Lars Svensson replaced her calcified bicuspid aortic valve on July 17.

In Denise’s journal, she writes:

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SURTAVI Update: CoreValve Begins Enrolling Patients For ‘Intermediate Risk’ Study

By Adam Pick on July 20, 2012

As we continue to track and discuss the medical technologies that are impacting heart valve therapy, I just learned that Medtronic recently began patient enrollment in a unique study that will examine the performance of its CoreValve transcatheter aortic valve replacement device in ‘intermediate risk’ patients.
 

The CoreValve TAVI Solution By Medtronic
Medtronic CoreValve System

 

The randomized trial, known as the Surgical Replacement and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (SURTAVI) study, will enroll 2,500 patients in 75 clinical sites around the world. Ultimately, this trial will be used to
determine if the CoreValve performs better, worse or the same as traditional, open heart surgical techniques. Specifically, mortality and stroke rate will be closely monitored during the trial.

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Friday Fun: Why Do Men Really Die Before Women?

By Adam Pick on July 20, 2012

My brother, Doug, sent me this. I couldn’t help but find it comical. As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. So, using basic math, these 9 pictures equals 9,000 words… Enjoy!
 

 

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“Did Ethan Have An Echocardiogram To Check For Bicuspid Aortic Valve?” Asks Cindy

By Adam Pick on July 14, 2012

As a follow-up to Wednesday’s post about Northwestern’s Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program, I received an interesting note from Cindy. She writes, “I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and have already had valve replacement surgery. My question is, ‘Do my children need to be worried about inheriting this? Have you had Ethan checked?'”

 

Photo Of Young Boy On Jungle Gym
Ethan, My Son

 

Following my video interview with Dr. Patrick McCarthy (see below), Robyn and I were motivated to have Ethan, my 3-year old son, checked for all forms of congenital valve defects. As you might imagine, Ethan was not a fan of having an echocardiogram. However, after promising Ethan a new Buzz Lightyear toy, he settled down and let the technician successfully perform the 25-minute test.

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Northwestern’s Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program Highlights Trend To Sub-Specialization

By Adam Pick on July 11, 2012

One trend I’ve noticed over the years is that surgeons and cardiac centers are becoming “sub-specialists” specific to heart valve treatment. By sub-specialization, I mean that clinics are extending significant resources to advance valvular therapy by disease type, by surgical technique and by patient risk factors. For example, three weeks ago, I met with a surgeon who suggested that 99% of his procedures are mitral valve repairs.

Last Monday, the trend to “sub-specialization” became more apparent when Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial Hospital launched a dedicated Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program within its distinguished Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

 

Northwestern Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program Collateral

 

Prior to learning about Northwestern’s BAV program, I knew that a handful of surgeons and cardiac centers specialized in bicuspid aortic valve treatment.  However, I had yet to hear of a complete, end-to-end program dedicated to bicuspid aortic valve disease — a disorder that impacts 1%-2% of the population.

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“Is Mitral Stenosis The Same Thing As A Leaking Heart Valve?” Asks Vicki

By Adam Pick on July 10, 2012

This morning, I received a great email from Vicki which reads, “Hi Adam – Is mitral stenosis the same thing as a leaking heart valve?”

I think Vicki’s question is excellent because many patients are often confused when we attempt to understand the medical terms used during our appointments with primary care physicians, cardiologists and surgeons. Personally, I only understood 10% of the medical terms the cardiologist used to explain my severe aortic stenosis diagnosis.

 

Mitral Stenosis (A Narrow Heart Valve)
Mitral Valve Stenosis

 

That said, the answer to Vicki’s question is… No, mitral stenosis is not the same thing as a leaking heart valve disorder.

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New 2012 Edition of My Book Available Now!

By Adam Pick on July 7, 2012

For those patients and caregivers preparing for — or recovering from — heart valve surgery, I wanted to quickly share that the 2012 edition of my book, The Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery, is now available. This 5th revision includes several updates and contributions from leading physicians like Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Bolling, Dr. Adams, Dr. Stewart, Dr. Gaudiani, Dr. Roselli and more.

As you can see below, Robyn (my wife) and Ethan (my son) helped me pack up our first shipment of books that were just dropped off at the post office.

 


Ethan & Robyn Help Me Pack Up The New 2012 Edition

 

I’m hopeful the book helps guide you and those around you through heart valve surgery.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

USC Launches New Heart Valve Clinic Microsite!

By Adam Pick on July 3, 2012

I’m very happy to announce that Keck Hospital of USC just launched a ‘Heart Valve Clinic Microsite’ at HeartValveSurgery.com!

You will find USC’s microsite in the new valve clinics directory of our website. There, you can learn about USC’s approach to heart valve surgery, its surgeon team, including Dr. Vaughn Starnes, my surgeon, and our patient success stories. To see the microsite, click here.
 

New USC Heart Valve Clinic Microsite
USC Heart Valve Clinic Microsite

 

Thanks to Dr. Vaughn Starnes, Dr. Craig Baker, Julie Starnes, Sherry Whitney and the entire USC team for their continued support of the patients and caregivers within our community.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

“Happy 4th of July!” From Robyn, Ethan & Me

By Adam Pick on July 3, 2012

To all of our patients and caregivers from the USA… Happy 4th of July!!!

 

Fourth Of July Picture Of Mom & Son
Robyn (my wife) & Ethan (my son)

 

Robyn, Ethan & I hope you enjoy all the special elements of this holiday including barbecues, hot dogs, family get togethers, hamburgers, cole slaw, pool parties, corn, vacations, apple pie, parades, s’mores, fireworks and, most importantly, freedom.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

Guest Blog: Deb Offers A Spouse’s Perspective On Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on June 29, 2012

In addition to talking with patients, I’m often afforded the privilege of speaking with their caregivers. Over the past several months, I’ve been trading emails and chatting on the phone with Deb. Her husband, Fred, was recently diagnosed with a severely leaking mitral valve.

 

Deb & Fred - Husband And Wife After Heart Surgery
Deb & Fred (Mitral Valve Repair Patient)

 

The great news is that Fred’s surgery went very well. In fact, he’s already back on the golf course.

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Tom & Trent Connect at The Heart Hospital After Mitral Valve Repair, Maze Procedure and Seroma

By Adam Pick on June 26, 2012

It continues to amaze me how Heart Valve Journals is connecting patients online and offline.

This time, Tom Hunt and Trent Viavattene met at The Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas. The two were simultaneously admitted to The Heart Hospital last week. Trent had a mitral valve repair surgery with Dr. William Ryan.

 

Trent & Tom, Patients, At The Heart Hosptial In Dallas, Texas
Trent & Tom at The Heart Hospital

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Special Announcement: Northwestern Memorial Hospital Launches ‘Heart Valve Clinic Microsite’

By Adam Pick on June 25, 2012

Great news everybody!

Northwestern Memorial Hospital from Chicago, Illinois just launched a new ‘Heart Valve Clinic Micrsoite’ at our website. Using this technology, you can go on a virtual tour of Northwestern, watch surgeon videos, download surgical outcomes, see patient stories and much more. To experience it, click here.

 

Northwestern Heart Valve Clinic Microsite

 

Needless to say, we are thrilled and honored to launch Northwestern’s microsite.

Thanks to the entire Northwestern team for its ongoing support of our community. And, most importantly, thanks to Drs. McCarthy, MalaisrieRussell, Jane and Colleen for the excellent care they collectively provide to our patients and caregivers!

Keep on tickin!
Adam

Kato Celebrates Her 95th Birthday, Thanks To The MitraClip

By Adam Pick on June 23, 2012

Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet several extraordinary patients. One such patient is Kato Pomer from Los Angeles, California.

As you might recall from my first post about Kato, she suffered from severe mitral regurgitation that progressed incredibly quick. Considering her age and other factors, Kato’s only hope for treatment was the MitraClip transcatheter valve repair. Thankfully, the team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — which included Dr. Karr, Dr. Trento and Dr. Shah — performed a MitraClip procedure. Kato was 92 years old at the time of the operation.

Today, Kato is celebrating her 95th birthday. Yeaahhhhh!!! Reflecting upon her procedure, Kato had the following message to share with her doctors, fellow patients and the FDA about the MitraClip.

 

 

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Little Darth Vader, Max Page, Recovering From Pulmonary Valve Replacement Surgery

By Adam Pick on June 22, 2012

I just learned that Max Page, the 7-year old actor who played ‘Little Darth Vader’ in a viral Volkswagen commercial, is recovering from pulmonary heart valve replacement surgery.

 

Max Page, Little Darth Vader & Heart Surgery Patient

 

It turns out that Doctor Vaughn Starnes, my cardiac surgeon, from USC Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, replaced the pulmonary valve, which was diagnosed as a congenital defect when Max was just 3 months old.

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“Are Heart Valve Replacements Stored At The Hospital?” Asks Tanya

By Adam Pick on June 21, 2012

Tanya just sent me a very interesting question about heart valve replacement surgery.

She writes, “Hi Adam – I’ve been diagnosed with a narrow aortic valve at .6 centimeters. I’m currently debating between a mechanical and tissue valve replacement. I’m curious to know how the surgeons get the valves. Do the hospitals order the replacement valves before the surgery? Or, are the valve replacements stored at the hospital? Thanks, Tanya”

I don’t know how all hospitals manage this process but I’ve been fortunate to tour a few cardiac centers that specialize in heart valve treatment. Each one of these centers kept their heart valve replacement devices on-site, ready for implant. More specifically, the devices were stored in large, protected drawers. As you can see, this is a picture of the ‘St. Jude Medical’ drawer I photographed during a recent visit to the Cleveland Clinic.

 

Heart Valve Replacement Inventory & Storage
St. Jude Heart Valve Replacement Drawer at Cleveland Clinic

 

It’s also interesting to note that certain heart valve replacements are stored at very low temperatures to preserve the integrity of the tissue. For example, the Cryolife homografts (human donor valve replacements) are typically stored at or below freezing prior to implant.

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“Can The Ross Procedure Help Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients?” Asks James

By Adam Pick on June 17, 2012

I just received a great email from James about the Ross Procedure and a diseased bicuspid aortic valve.

James writes, “Hi Adam – I’m 47 and recently told I need to replace my bicuspid aortic valve due to stenosis. Through your website, I’ve learned about the Ross Procedure as an option for me. It sounds interesting but I’m curious to know if the Ross Procedure can be used for my bicuspid aortic valve? Thanks, James”

 

The Ross Procedure & Bicuspid Valve
Ross Procedure Diagram & Bicuspid Aortic Valve Picture

 

Typically, for technical questions about heart valve repair and heart valve replacement operations, I contact our cardiac surgeon team for their opinions on patient questions. Luckily, for this question, I can provide James a direct response.

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Tech Update: SAPIEN Valve Replacement Recommended For “High Risk” Aortic Stenosis Patients

By Adam Pick on June 16, 2012

The possibility of aortic valve replacement without an incision to the sternum or ribs of the patient has become a reality for select patient categories. Together, our community has followed the evolution of catheter-based technologies including the SAPIEN heart valve replacement by Edwards Lifesciences which received FDA approval for “inoperable” patients last year. Needless to say, patient interest specific to this and other transcatheter devices, including the CoreValve and the MitraClip, is significant.

 

SAPIEN TAVI Valve Replacement
SAPIEN Heart Valve Replacement (Edwards Lifesciences)

 

For that reason, I wanted to make sure you were aware of a recent announcement in which an FDA panel recommended the SAPIEN heart valve replacement for wider use among “high-risk” aortic stenosis patients. So you know, a “high risk” patient is healthy enough to have surgery but faces serious health risks because of age (often greater than 80 years old) or illnesses (like diabetes).

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