Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 31

The 2012 Heart Valve Summit Was… Amazing!!!

By Adam Pick on October 16, 2012

I’m just returning home to Los Angeles after spending the past few days at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago. This special event brings together leading cardiologists and surgeons to discuss the optimum treatment of valve disease. Needless to say, the event was… Amazing!

In the near future, I will be posting several videos filmed during the event. However, in the meantime, here are some pictures that I took at the Heart Valve Summit. Here’s a picture of the Grand Ballrooom that was filled with over 400 physicians during the conference.


Heart Valve Summit 2012 - Conference Room


I was lucky to reconnect with Doctor David Adams, MD, the Program Director of the Heart Valve Summit, and Gideon Sims, the Senior Director, Information Technology & Web Strategy at Mount Sinai.


Adam Pick, Dr. David Adams, Gideon Sims at The Heart Valve Summit


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“Any Questions For The World’s Leading Heart Valve Doctors?” Asks Adam

By Adam Pick on October 10, 2012

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be at the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago, Illinois. During the conference, I will be very fortunate to meet with several physicians that specialize in heart valve treatment including Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Chitwood, Dr. Bolling and Dr. Adams.



Do you have any questions about your diagnosis, your symptoms, the different types of valve surgery or anything else? If so, please scroll below or email me at

As shown on our videos page, your question may be featured in a live video interview that will be featured at our website.

Keep on tickin!

Holy Cross Hospital Launches Heart Valve Clinic Microsite!

By Adam Pick on October 10, 2012

Good news!

Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida just launched a new Heart Valve Clinic Microsite in the Valve Clinics section of our website. Using this microsite, the patients and caregivers within our community can quickly learn about Holy Cross Hospital and its team of cardiologists and surgeons that specialize in heart valve therapy.


Heart Valve Surgery Microsite For Holy Cross Hospital


On behalf of our community, many thanks to Dr. Harold Roberts, Dr. Vicente Font, Dr. Alan Niederman, Dr. Joshua Purow, Dr. Irving David, Dr. David Llanos, Chloe Lebron and Christine Moncrieffe for their support of this project!

To see the Holy Cross Hospital Heart Valve Clinic Microsite, please click here.

Keep on tickin!

Surgeon Q&A Video: “Is It Common To Have A Murmur After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Kerrigan

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2012

I recently received a great question from Kerrigan about heart murmurs after heart valve surgery. In his email, Kerrigan writes, “Hi Adam – I had aortic valve replacement with a porcine valve three years ago. Since the valve replacement, I’ve had a detectible murmur that has not changed since the first, post-op baseline echocardiogram. Is it common to have a murmur after heart valve surgery?”

To answer Kerrigan’s question, I met with Dr. Luis Castro, MD, the Medical Director of Sequoia Heart Institute. During his career, Dr. Castro has performed over 3,000 heart valve procedures. You can see the highlights of our discussion in this video. For the patients in our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a transcript below.



I hope this video helped Kerrigan (and perhaps you) learn a little more about heart murmurs after valve surgery.

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Seminar Update: Thanks To Dr. Khan, Alta Bates Summit and Ted For A Great Night In Oakland!

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2012

Good news!

The educational seminar I recently spoke at went great. The seminar, “For People with Heart Murmurs”, was well attended and very interactive. After I shared my story, Doctor Junaid Khan provided the patients an overview of heart murmurs and the common forms of heart valve disease including mitral regurgitation and aortic stenosis.


Community Event: For People With Heart Murmurs Hosted By Alta Bates Summit Medical Center


Doctor Khan then discussed the different types of heart valve therapies. In closing, Dr. Khan shared some very interesting data about newer surgical techniques including minimally invasive approaches using port-access (also known as mini-thoracotomy) and transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

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Tech Update: Perceval Sutureless Aortic Valve Replacement Gets CE Mark For Extended Indications

By Adam Pick on October 1, 2012

In case you missed it… The Sorin Group, a leading manufacturer of heart valve replacement devices, recently announced that its Perceval Sutureless Heart Valve Replacement device received a CE Mark for extended indications in Europe.


Perceval Sutureless Valve Replacement


Prior to this announcement, the Perceval was limited to patients who were 75 years or older.  Now, the Perceval can be used on patients with severe aortic stenosis that are over the age of 65.

If this is your first time hearing of the Perceval sutureless aortic valve replacement device, you may want to know the following:

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Jeff Travels Over 2,000 Miles For A Mitral Valve Repair Guarantee

By Adam Pick on September 17, 2012

Hearing from you — the patients and caregivers of our community — continues to be my favorite part of running this website. That said, I just received a great patient success story from Jeff Adams of Seattle, Washington.

In his email, Jeff wrote to me:


PJeff Adams - Mitral Valve Surgery Patient of Dr. Steven BollingJeff Adams – Mitral Valve Repair Patient


I learned that I had mitral valve regurgitation in March of this year.  It came as a complete surprise!  As a fit, 48 year old male in excellent health, I assumed I had at least 17+ years before I had to worry about my own cardiac issues.  Though my team of cardiologists in the Seattle area were up for the task of a complex mitral valve repair, Dr. Steven Bolling was the only surgeon I spoke with that had absolute confidence in himself and his team to get the job done AS A REPAIR without concern that he would have to resort to a replacement valve.

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Reminder: I’ll Be Speaking In Oakland Tonight!

By Adam Pick on September 17, 2012

Hi everybody,

I just wanted to remind the patients and caregivers in Northern California that I will be speaking at “For People With Heart Murmurs”, an educational seminar hosted by Dr. Junaid Khan and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Tuesday night. At the conclusion of the event, all attendees will receive a free signed copy of my book.

To reserve your spot, please call Ellen at 510-869-6737 or email Here’s the invitation for the event:


Invitation To Educational Seminar For Heart Valve Patients


I look forward to seeing you in Oakland!

Keep on tickin!

Tech Update: Medtronic Reaches Major Milestones For CoreValve Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Device

By Adam Pick on September 5, 2012

As a technology enthusiast, I really enjoy monitoring the new devices impacting heart valve therapy.

That said, I thought you might want to learn about the CoreValve, a new transcatheter aortic valve replacement device for patients with aortic stenosis (a narrow heart valve). As you can see in this video post, the CoreValve replaces a diseased aortic valve without any incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.


CoreValve Implanted In The Aortic Position


Last week, Medtronic, the manufacturer of the CoreValve, announced the following:

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Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. McGee Innovates To Keep Hearts Ticking!

By Adam Pick on September 5, 2012

I’m very happy to announce that Dr. Edwin C. McGee, Jr., a cardiac surgeon from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, has been named the ‘Featured Surgeon’ at


Dr. Edwin McGeeDr. Edwin McGee – Heart Surgeon


As you may have already seen, Dr. McGee has performed successful heart valve surgery on several patients in our community including – Michael McKeon and Maria Leibold.


Michael McKeon, a former aortic valve replacement patient, stated, “I don’t overstate the facts here – Dr. McGee and his supporting team of doctors and nurses saved my life.”


Interestingly, Dr. McGee recently performed an innovative procedure where one ventricular assist device (VAD) was implanted into each ventricle of the patient’s heart, known as biventricular configuration or BiVAD, until a donor heart became available.

Keep on tickin!

Trivia: How Many People Have Aortic Stenosis In The United States?

By Adam Pick on August 29, 2012

As many of you have shared in this blog and our online community, the process of being diagnosed with heart valve disease can be an isolating experience. So you know, that is why I started this website five years ago. I wanted to connect patients with similar disorders so that we could learn from, relate to and empower each other.


Question Mark Of People


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Patient Event Announcement: Let’s Connect At “Important Information For People With Heart Murmurs” on September 18

By Adam Pick on August 28, 2012

Great news!!!

You’re invited to a special event titled, “Important Information for People with Heart Murmurs”. This educational event will be hosted by Alta Bates Summit Medical Center at the Lafayette Library in Oakland, California on Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30 pm (PST). To attend the community session, please call (510) 869-6737.

I have to admit… I feel very, very, very honored to be included as a speaker at this event. Along with Dr. Junaid Khan, a heart valve specialist, we will discuss the causes, the symptoms and the treatment of heart valve disease.


Invitation Card To Patient Education Seminar


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Surgical Innovation: Valve Wrapping Techniques Used During The Ross Procedure With Dr. Paul Stelzer

By Adam Pick on August 24, 2012

I’ll never forget my 3-week check-up when Dr. Starnes, my heart surgeon, said to me, “Adam, the post-operative echocardiogram shows that your heart is doing excellent… Plus, we wrapped your pulmonary valve during the procedure, so you should benefit from that over time.” In the moment, I didn’t question Dr. Starnes about my wrapped pulmonary valve. To be honest, I didn’t care. I just wanted to hear that my heart was doing well after my double heart valve replacement surgery.


Pulmonary Valve Wrapped During The Ross ProcedureWrapped Pulmonary Valve Used During Ross Procedure


However, as the community at grew, I received several patient questions about “valve wrapping techniques” used during the Ross Procedure, a unique form or aortic valve replacement surgery. For that reason, I contacted Dr. Paul Stelzer, a Ross Procedure specialist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, to discuss this surgical innovation.

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“When Will I Feel More Energetic & Less Tired After Heart Surgery?” Asks Joan

By Adam Pick on August 22, 2012

I just received a very interesting from Joan about being tired after heart surgery.

In her email, Joan writes, “I am now 7 weeks post-op and am tired all the time and have no energy.  I remember so many folks telling me that after my surgery I would feel so much better and have all this amazing energy. Well, as of now I do not feel as energetic as I did before surgery… by a long shot! I had no real symptoms prior to aortic valve replacement even though the valve was badly diseased.   Now, everything is a major effort and I get out of breath with the slightest exertion.  I have a feeling it may be caused by the metoprolol drug (the only prescription I take) and I do have a call into my cardiologist to see if I can lower the dosage. I am eating a high protein diet and get lots of rest and a nap every afternoon.  Do you know when I might be feeling more energetic?”


Woman Showing Tiredness


I — and many other patients in our community — can relate to Joan. Although each patient heals at different rates, it seems like many of us are lethargic, fatigued and tired after heart surgery. Personally, I remember feeling exhausted for the first ten weeks after my valve replacement surgery. I remember saying to Robyn, my wife, “I’m soooooooo tired. When will I feel like my old self again?”

To learn more about this issue, I contacted Dr. Salenger, Director of Valve Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York. So you know, Doctor Salenger has a specific clinical interest in post-operative care of heart valve replacement and heart valve repair patients.

In his response to Joan, Dr. Salenger noted the following:


Hi Joan – Don’t get discouraged!  Everyone is an individual and people recover at different speeds.  It is not unusual to still be tired and lack energy at 7 weeks.  Some people take 12 weeks or longer to get over the surgery.  If you compare your energy levels on a  week-to-week basis, you should see some improvement.  If you are not improving as time goes on then there are some things for you and your doctor to think about. Your idea about the metoprolol is a good point.  Also, ask your cardiologist if any other medications could be a problem.  Especially focus on any medications that are new to you.  Your physician may also want to check a chest x-ray to make sure your lungs look okay, and evaluate your heart and valve function with an echocardiogram.  Most likely, however, you are on a normal post-operative trajectory and can feel confident you will be back in form, with more energy, over time. Hope this is helpful, Dr. Rawn Salenger


I hope this Joan (and perhaps you) learn more about being tired after heart surgery. Thanks to Dr. Salenger for sharing his clinical expertise with our community.

Keep on tickin!

New ‘Top-Ranked Hospitals For Cardiology & Heart Surgery’ Announced

By Adam Pick on August 22, 2012

In case you missed it, U.S. News and World Reports recently published its annual top listing of top hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery.


Seal Of US News & World Report For Cardiac Care Centers


As I reviewed the list, I noticed that the Cleveland Clinic retained its #1 position on this list. I could be wrong but I think this is the 18th consecutive year that the Cleveland Clinic held this spot. I also noticed that Mount Sinai Hospital broke into the top 10 for the first time since I began monitoring this list.

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“Can A Heart Valve Replacement Go Bad Because of Extensive Exercise?” Asks Joe

By Adam Pick on August 14, 2012

I just received a great question from Joe about heart valve replacement durability and exercise after heart valve surgery.


Running Hearts Drawing


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Does Vitamin K2 Prevent Calcified Heart Valves & Blocked Arteries?

By Adam Pick on August 10, 2012

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received several emails from patients about the benefits of Vitamin K2 specific to heart disease.

For example, Alicja wrote to me, “Adam – Thanks for all of your help. I am sending you an article about Vitamin K2 and how it is preventing calcification of arteries, heart valve stenosis and osteoporosis. I have been taking Vitamin K2 since last September and I am feeling much better. I feel that other people should read about Vitamin K2 and its potential benefits for heart disease patients. Thanks! Alicia”


Vitamin K2 & Calcifed Heart Valve Stenosis


Within her email, Alicja forward a link to very interesting article titled, “Vitamin K2: Bone and Heart Health”. I reviewed the article and became intrigued by Vitamin K2 given its potential value for blocked arteries and calcified heart valves.  (So you know, I began using supplements and fish oil after my heart valve surgery to help with ongoing fatigue.)

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“Happy Anniversary!” To Robert Following Bicuspid Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

By Adam Pick on August 9, 2012

I wanted to extend a big “Happy Anniversary!” to Robert Anderson from Groton, Massachusetts. As you can read in his note below, Robert had a congenital bicuspid aortic valve that needed to be replaced. Here is more from Robert about his journey and his celebration:

Hi Adam – I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for the book. I just passed my 1st anniversary for stenotic bicuspid aortic valve replacement and an ascending aortic resection for a non-ruptured aneurysm at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. My wife bought your book a few weeks before my surgery and I still thumb through it (more so the last few chapters now).


Robert Anderson – Heart Valve Replacement Patient


Here’s a photo taken a little less than 3 months after the surgeries.

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Jeff, Chris & Mark Celebrate Dr. Paul Stelzer, A Ross Procedure Guru and A Super Nice Guy

By Adam Pick on August 6, 2012

In our patient and caregiver community, the name Doctor Paul Stelzer is synonymous with the Ross Procedure. As you might know, Dr. Paul Stelzer has performed over 500 Ross Procedures during his 28-year career. Dr. Stelzer has performed the last 300 Ross Procedures have occurred without patient mortality.

A testament to his reputation, many patients from our community — including Chris Dixon, Jeff Shebovsky and Mark Kroto — have traveled across the country to have this unique form of aortic valve replacement performed by Dr. Stelzer.


Patients Of Dr. Paul Stelzer


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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 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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