Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 33

Valve Clinic Tour: Dr. Patrick McCarthy Returns Home To Lead The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute At Northwestern Memorial Hospital

By Adam Pick on November 9, 2011

In 2004, one of the leading heart valve surgeons came home.

In the midst of his 30-year career, which includes time at Stanford University, The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Patrick M. McCarthy returned to Chicago, the city of his birth, to lead the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Given Dr. McCarthy’s clinical achievements, research, cardiac inventions, publications and patient recommendations, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to tour Northwestern prior to the Heart Valve Summit.


Dr. Patrick McCarthy – Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery
Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital


During the tour, which included several meetings with medical and administrative teams, I quickly came to understand four  reasons why so many patients within our community are enthusiastic about this program – which is currently ranked by US News and World Report at:

  • No. 16 for cardiovascular care across the nation; and
  • No. 1 for cardiovascular care in the Chicago-metro area.

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Heart Valve Summit Video #4: “Why Are The New Transcatheter Therapies Only For Inoperable Patients?” Asks Cory

By Adam Pick on November 7, 2011

As we learned last Thursday, the FDA just approved the new SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement for inoperable patients. This exciting announcement has left many patients and caregivers wondering why the SAPIEN is only for inoperable patients in the United States.

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I was able to discuss this important topic with Dr. Lars Svensson, MD, one of the leading heart valve surgeons at The Cleveland Clinic. Here are the highlights of Dr. Svensson’s response to Cory’s question, “Why are the new transcatheter therapies only for inoperable patients?”



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Heart Valve Summit Video #3: “What Is The Most Important Diagnostic Element To Consider PRIOR To Mitral Valve Surgery?” Asks Ken

By Adam Pick on November 4, 2011

I don’t know about you… But, when I was diagnosed with severe heart valve disease, I experienced several dislocating emotions. One of those emotions was confusion. As my cardiologist reviewed my echocardiogram, he used medical terms that were foreign to me.

To help future patients avoid a similar situation, I recently interviewed Dr. Randy Martin — the past president of The American Society of Echocardiography and Chief of Valvular & Structural Heart Disease at Piedmont Heart Institute — during the Heart Valve Summit. During our chat, Dr. Martin answered Ken’s question, “What is the most important diagnostic element prior to mitral valve surgery?”



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Special Technology Update: FDA Approves First Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Therapy For “Inoperable” Patients

By Adam Pick on November 3, 2011

Big, big, big, biggggggg news everybody!

I just learned that the Edwards SAPIEN Aortic Valve has received FDA approval for “inoperable” patients. On the heels of this exciting announcement, there are several implications for patients and caregivers that should be considered.


SAPIEN Valve With FDA Seal
Edwards SAPIEN Heart Valve Replacement


First… This is the first time that a transcatheter therapy has been approved by the FDA for aortic valve treatment. Using SAPIEN, physicians deploy a catheter-based delivery system to replace a diseased aortic valve without any incision to the patient’s sternum or ribs.

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Heart Valve Summit Video #2: “Are Patients With A Failed Mitral Valve Repair Candidates For A MitraClip?”Asks Gayle

By Adam Pick on November 1, 2011

The possibilities of transcatheter valvular therapy are exciting. However, these minimally-invasive approaches to treating heart valve disorders are new and still without FDA approval in the United States. That said, my inbox is filled with patient and caregiver questions about devices including the CoreValve, the SAPIEN and the MitraClip.

For example, Gayle recently sent me an email asking, “Adam — Can patients with a failed mitral valve repair be eligible candidates for the MitraClip?” At the recent Heart Valve Summit in Chicago, I asked Dr. Steven Bolling, the Director of The Mitral Valve Program at the University of Michigan, this exact question. Here are the highlights from our discussion.



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“What Are My Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery Risks?” Asks Sharon

By Adam Pick on October 21, 2011

I just received an email from Sharon that rekindled a memory. Sharon writes, “Hi Adam – I was recently diagnosed with severe aortic valve stenosis and I need an aortic valve replacement. Even though I’m 62 and in relatively good shape, I’m worried about making it through. Do you know what the mortality rates and surgery risks are for aortic valve replacement? Thanks, Sharon”


Female Patient In Gown


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Heart Valve Summit Video #1: Cardiologists & Surgeons Unite To Advance Valvular Therapy!

By Adam Pick on October 20, 2011

As I write this, I am flying home to Los Angeles after attending the 2011 Heart Valve Summit. The meeting was beyond exciting as over 500 cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician assistants and nurses congregated in Chicago to discuss the treatment of heart valve disease — including heart valve repair and heart valve replacement surgery.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting several educational videos filmed at the Heart Valve Summit. However, I thought you might like to learn more about this special event. That said, I asked Dr. David Adams, the Program Director of the Heart Valve Summit, to describe the significance of this meeting for the patients and the caregivers of our community.



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Today, My Thoughts Are With Bill, Sherry & Terri

By Adam Pick on October 18, 2011

I just spent some time at Heart Valve Journals, our social network that connects patients, friends and family members. While there, I noticed that Bill, Sherry and Terri were scheduled for surgery during the next 24 hours.



If you would like to learn more about their stories, you can visit their Heart Valve Journals by clicking the links below:

I want to wish Sherry, Bill and Terri a very successful surgery and very smooth recovery.

My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Keep on tickin!

“Why Is My Husband Gaining Weight From Fluids After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Joanie

By Adam Pick on October 14, 2011

I just received an interesting question from Joanie. She writes, “Hi Adam – My husband had mitral valve repair surgery three days ago. I noticed that he’s gained 8 pounds since the surgery. The doctors say the gain is due to fluid intake. Is this common? What fluids did they use? How long until he loses the fluid? Thanks, Joanie.”



While I had my thoughts on the topic, I wanted to provide Joanie an expert opinion. That said, I contacted Dr. Larry Cohn, MD, who practices at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. During his 40-year career, Dr. Cohn has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures.

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True or False: Cardiac Surgeons Perform At Least 37 Mitral Valve Repair Surgeries Each Year

By Adam Pick on October 11, 2011

As heart valve surgery is a very serious and very complex operation, I encourage all patients to interview and research their potential surgeons. Even with the known risks of heart valve surgery, you want to be 100% confident in your surgeon as you are being rolled into the operating room.

One of the key criteria for surgeon selection is experience. Specific to this point, I just learned a very interesting fact about the average yearly number of mitral valve repair surgeries performed by cardiac surgeons.



Well… What do you think?

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Technology Update: The ValveXchange Has Its First Implant!

By Adam Pick on October 9, 2011

Needless to say, this is a very exciting time in the development of heart valve therapies. In my opinion, this segment of cardiac care just became even more exciting as ValveXchange reported the first-in-man (FIM) implant of its two-part, heart valve replacement system.

“What is a two-part heart valve replacement system?” you might be wondering.


Diagram of ValveXchange Technology


As shown above, the first part of the surgical system is the permanent implant of the Vitality base within the valve.

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Surgeon Spotlight: With Over 4,000 Heart Valve Procedures Complete, Dr. Patrick McCarthy Is Celebrated By His Patients

By Adam Pick on October 6, 2011

It is an honor to shine our surgeon spotlight on Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

During his 30-year career, which includes training and clinical work at Stanford University, The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, Doctor Patrick McCarthy has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures including 4,000 operations involving heart valve treatment. Here is a quick video about Dr. McCarthy’s ongoing pursuit of healthy hearts.



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JenaValve Gets CE Mark For TAVI Device In Europe

By Adam Pick on October 5, 2011

As patients in the United States continue to wait for FDA approval of transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices, another TAVI technology just received a CE mark for commercial use in Europe.


Jena TAVI - Aortic Valve Replacement Via Catheter
JenaValve TAVI – Aortic Valve Replacement Via Catheter


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

By Adam Pick on September 28, 2011

Great news everybody!

I am attending the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago. While there, I will have a special opportunity to ask your questions directly to valvular specialists including Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Adams, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Martin, Dr. Bolling, Dr. Accola and more. Their responses will be filmed and posted at this blog.

Leading Heart Valve Surgeons


So… If you have a question — about anything related to heart valve disorders, symptoms, surgical approaches or valve replacement devices — please  click the “ASK YOUR QUESTION” button above, email me directly or scroll down to leave a comment. I will do my best to get your questions answered as soon as possible.

Keep on tickin!


Our Heart Valve Surgery Video Playbacks Jump Over 19,023!

By Adam Pick on September 26, 2011

The Internet never ceases to amaze me…

We recently launched a new section of this website that contains our heart valve surgery videos. I just learned that, in a very short time, the number of playbacks has soared to over 19,000 views. If you were unaware of these videos, they feature your questions which are asked directly to leading heart valve surgeons.


Filming A Video With Doctors At Conference
Dr. Shemin and Adam Answer Your Questions At STS


While I’m terrible in front of a camera, the information shared through these videos is incredible. Thanks to all the surgeons — including Dr. Adams, Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Cohn, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Gerdisch, Dr. Smith, Dr. Shemin, Dr. Stewart, Dr. Accola, Dr. Khan, Dr. Starnes, Dr. Svensson, etc. — for taking the time to help develop these videos.

Keep on tickin!

Video: “Does A Bicuspid Aortic Valve Become Tricuspid During Heart Valve Repair Surgery?” Asks Sato

By Adam Pick on September 22, 2011

Sato sent me a very interesting question about bicuspid aortic valve repair. He writes, “Hi Adam – I’m 61. I’ve been diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve and severe regurgitation. I’ve been told a repair is possible. During surgery, does the bicuspid aortic valve become a tricuspid valve?”

While at the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons conference, I was able to ask Sato’s question to Dr. Lars Svensson, MD, the Director of the Aorta Program at The Cleveland Clinic. As you may know, Dr. Svensson, is highly regarded for his work with bicuspid aortic valves.



Thanks to Sato for his question and a special thanks to Dr. Lars Svensson for sharing his clinical research with our community. To learn more about Dr. Svensson and his patients, please click here.

For those of you who are hearing impaired, I have provided a transcript of this interview below…

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Video: “Besides Sternum Wires, What Other Technologies Can Help The Chest Heal?” Asks Jane

By Adam Pick on September 20, 2011

As a follow-up to our recent discussion about chest pain and sternum wires, Jane sent me a great question about incision closure techniques. She writes, “Hi Adam – I’ve read good and bad things about the use of wires to close the sternum.  Are there any other technologies used to help the chest heal? Thanks, Jane”

Luckily, I was able to ask this exact question to Dr. Jai Raman, the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, Illinois. I thought you might like to see the interview highlights from our discussion about a new technology called sternal plating.



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My Thoughts Are With Jim, Sara & Chris…

By Adam Pick on September 19, 2011

As Jim, Sara & Chris prepare for heart valve surgery this week, I wanted them to know that my thoughts are with them and their families.



To learn about their stories, please visit their Heart Valve Journals by clicking the links below:

Keep on tickin’ Jim, Sara & Chris!

Patient Update: Dave Hooper Graduates From Cardiac Rehab!

By Adam Pick on September 16, 2011

As many of you know, I encourage all patients to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program following heart valve surgery. Research shows that the physical and emotional benefits for patients attending post-operative cardiac rehab classes are significant but often under-utilized.

That said, here is a great update from Dave Hooper. (You might recall that I featured Dave in a prior post following his aortic valve replacement surgery.)


Patients At Cardiac Rehabiliation Classes
Dave Hooper At Cardiac Rehab

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Trivia: What Is The Most Common Heart Valve Defect?

By Adam Pick on September 16, 2011

Time for your heart valve trivia of the day… Here’s the question:


Trivia Question Image


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