Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 33

Special Video Interview: The Advantages of the Ross Procedure with Dr. Paul Stelzer & Peter Woglom

By Adam Pick on July 23, 2013

I receive a lot of questions about the Ross Procedure from patients with aortic valve disease. For that reason, I traveled to New York to film an educational video with Dr. Paul Stelzer, a leading Ross procedure surgeon, and Peter Woglom, one of his patient success stories.

So you know, Dr. Stelzer has performed over 500 Ross Procedures during his 32-year career. Many patients from our community, including Jeff Shebovsky, Mark Kroto and Chris Dixon, have had successful Ross operations thanks to this valve guru — who often sings in a barbershop quartet.



I would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Stelzer for his dedication and pursuit of healthy heart valves. I would also like to thank Dr. Stelzer for his ongoing support of the patients and caregivers in our community.

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Free eBook & Video for “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery for Patients” Webinar

By Adam Pick on July 18, 2013

Good news!

Our recent webinar, “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery”, went really well. Over 140 patients and caregivers registered to learn critical insights about mitral valve disease and treatment from Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu and Dr. Robin Varghese, cardiac surgeons at Mount Sinai Hospital. In particular, the webinar focused on the advantages of mitral valve repair surgery for patients.


Download the Mitral Valve Repair Webinar eBook.


If you were unable to attend the webinar, no worries. I have created two ways in which you can access the information shared during this hour-long event. You can either:

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“Am I A Candidate For The MitraClip Procedure?” Asks Kate

By Adam Pick on July 17, 2013

I just received a great question from Kate about mitral valve prolapse, severe regurgitation and the MitraClip.

In her email, Kate writes to me, “Hi Adam – I am a 33-year old, single mother of two, recently diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and moderate to severe mitral regurgitation (MR).  I am exploring my options and was wondering if you could tell me which hospitals perform the MitraClip surgery? Also, how would I get evaluated to see if I am a potential candidate for this procedure?”


MitraClip Device


As you may know, the MitraClip is a catheter-based technology that “clips” the two mitral leaflets together to reduce regurgitation. It should be noted that the FDA has not approved the MitraClip in the USA — although, it recently received an FDA panel approval vote of 5-3, which is a good sign.

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Why is the Mitral Conclave So Important for Patients, Cardiologists & Surgeons?

By Adam Pick on July 8, 2013

It’s not often that 1,000 heart surgeons and cardiologists gather in one spot to discuss and debate best practices for mitral valve therapy. In fact, it never happened until Dr. David Adams, Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, brainstormed the idea. Then, with the full support the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), that idea transformed into the… Mitral Conclave.

Now, just a few years later, the Mitral Conclave is the largest symposium for physicians to teach — and learn from each other — about mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement procedures. To help you understand how important this event is for you, the patient, cardiologists and surgeons, I jumped on a plane to New York to capture the highlights of the Mitral Conclave in this “Behind the Scenes” video.



Of all the great things I witnessed at the Mitral Conclave, it was a unique sense of community that struck me.

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“Can The Robot Do Mitral Valve Repair & Coronary Artery Bypass?” Asks Rena

By Adam Pick on June 30, 2013

I just received a great question from Rena about mitral valve repair and coronary artery bypass grafting (also known as CABG). Rena writes to me, “Hi Adam – I’m in for a ‘double doozie’. I have a bad mitral valve (severe regurgitation) and a blocked artery. My cardiologist suggests surgery soon. In looking at the different options, I’m curious to know if the robot can do both mitral valve repair and bypass in one procedure? If so, is it safe or risky?”



To provide Rena an expert response, I contacted Dr. Thomas Molloy, who is the Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Adventist Medical Center’s Northwest Regional Heart Center in Portland, Oregon. In his response, Dr. Molloy wrote:

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My Thoughts & Prayers Are With Natalie!

By Adam Pick on June 27, 2013

There is nothing better than hearing from the patients and caregivers within our community.

A few minutes ago… Mark Uebelacker sent me this smiling picture of Natalie Uebelacker, his wife, who had aortic valve repair surgery earlier today at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. So you know, Natalie had a leaking bicuspid aortic valve. Like many BAV patients, Natalie also needed her ascending aorta replaced with a Dacron Graft due to an aortic aneurysm.


Natalie Uebelacker – Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patient


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Trivia: How Many iPads Does It Take To Run A Heart Valve Webinar?

By Adam Pick on June 27, 2013

We just had a great webinar about mitral valve repair surgery. (FYI, I’ll be posting the transcript and video shortly.)

Interestingly… Just before the webinar, Robyn, my wife, walked by make-shift desk in the living room.  She laughed and said to me, “Really? Do you really need all of those iPads and other stuff for the webinar? I need to get a picture of this!”

So, just how many iPads does it take to run a webinar? Take a look at the picture below for your answer.


My Desk 5 Minutes Before The Webinar


As you can see… During the webinar, I was doing my best to monitor 6 different Apple products at one time – 4 iPads, 1 Macbook and 1 iPhone.

For all of you Apple shareholders out there, I hope this made your day!

Keep on tickin!

Top 5 Questions About Today’s Patient Webinar

By Adam Pick on June 25, 2013

I’ve received several questions about “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery for Patients” webinar that is scheduled for today. That said, I’m posting the 5 most common questions for your review.



1. Can I still register for the webinar?

Yes. Due to a great patient response, we just increased the registrations for another 100 people. You can register for the webinar by clicking here.

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New 25-Year Study on Longevity of Bovine Tissue Valve Replacements… Great Job Edwards Lifesciences!

By Adam Pick on June 19, 2013

It is, by far, one of the most common questions I receive from patients who are NOT candidates for heart valve repair procedures. That question is, “How long do tissue valves last?”

As you may have seen in prior posts, several doctors in our community have commented that tissue valves can last between 10 to 15 years. That being said, Edwards Lifesciences just released some very interesting findings from a 25-year study of its PERIMOUNT valve replacement in the aortic position. So you know, the PERIMOUNT is a bovine pericardial heart valve. That means, the valve leaflets are made from the pericardium (heart sacs) of cows.


 PERIMOUNT Bovine Heart Valve Replacement


In this long-term study, 373 patients — who were under the age of 60 at the time of aortic valve implant — were followed to determine the longevity of the PERIMOUNT valve. The study, which ran from 1984 to 2008, determined that the actual durability of the PERIMOUNT valve replacement, in this patient segment, was not 10 years…

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Webinar Update: Registrations Soar! Now Accepting Another 100 Registrations And… Your Questions!

By Adam Pick on June 19, 2013

The response to our upcoming webinar, “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery for Patients”, greatly exceeded expectations. For that reason, we just extended our registration capabilty to another 100 people for the live event — scheduled on Wednesday, June 26 at 1pm EST. To join this educational webinar for patients, you can register by clicking here.




In addition, we are now accepting your questions for the webinar. To ask a question, simply click here.

If you — or someone you know — has been diagnosed with mitral valve disease, this educational webinar might really help them better understand their disease, their treatment options and the possibility of a very successful surgical result.

To learn more about the webinar, click here.

Keep on tickin!

Patient Webinar Annoucement: “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery” on Wednesday, June 26 at 1pm EST

By Adam Pick on June 13, 2013

As patients with mitral valve disease can be confused about their diagnosis, treatment options, surgeon selection and outcomes, I am excited to announce that we will be hosting a live webinar titled, “The Importance of Mitral Valve Repair Surgery for Patients”, on Wednesday, June 26 at 1pm EST.

During this live event, Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu and Dr. Robin Varghese, from The Mount Sinai Medical Center, will share critical information about mitral valve disease and treatment – with a focus on mitral valve repair procedures. This one-hour event is free attend. However, please note that space is limited to the first one hundred registrants. You can register now by clicking here.



In advance, many thanks to Drs. Anyanwu and Varghese for taking the time to share their research and clinic experiences with our community.

Keep on tickin!

“What About Coronary Artery Blockages After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Mike

By Adam Pick on June 12, 2013

Mike just sent me an interesting question about angina and coronary artery disease after valve surgery. In his note, Mike writes, “Hi Adam – I had an aortic valve replacement and double bypass in June 2004 by Dr. Joe Bavaria, Hospital University of Pennsylvania.  Subsequently, I have been diagnosed with angina. I have also had several cardiac catheterizations and stents placed in the artery since my surgery.   I understand that 10% of all stent and cardiac cath patients have recurrence of artery blockage.  Do you know if anyone is doing research on this issue?


Coronary Artery Disease


To provide Mike an expert response, I contacted his surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bavaria at Penn Medicine. Within hours of sending Dr. Bavaria this question, I received the following response:

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Surgeon Q&A: “What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice For Mitral Valve Repair Patients?” with Dr. David Adams

By Adam Pick on June 1, 2013

There is nothing better than good, honest and trusted advice for patients.

For that reason, I met with Dr. David Adams, a mitral valve repair guru from The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. So you know, Dr. Adams has performed successful heart valve surgery on 100+ patients from our community including Mark Linnus, Cynthia Tarver and Monique Battaglia. 🙂

During our chat, I asked Dr. Adams, “What are your top 3 pieces of advice for patients preparing for mitral valve repair surgery?” The highlights of our discussion are provided in this video:



Many thanks to Dr. Adams for taking the time to meet with me and share his advice with our patient and caregiver community. To learn more about Dr. Adams, and see 30+ patient testimonials for this incredible person — who I was fortunate to travel with to the Dominican Republic on a recent Heart Valve Medical Mission — please click here.

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Theresa Reaches Another Milestone In Her Recovery From Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

By Adam Pick on May 31, 2013

As you might remember, Theresa LoMonaco shared a recovery update with us last July. Well, it’s ten months later, and Theresa has good news to share. Here is what she writes to me:


Teresa Lomonaco - Heart Valve Surgery Success Story
Theresa LoMonaco – Aortic Valve Replacement Patient


Adam, I wanted to share this photo of me, wearing my red survivor’s hat, that was taken at the American Heart Association 2013 Heart-Stroke Walk in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

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Surgeon Q&A: Understanding Leaky Heart Valves with Dr. Accola

By Adam Pick on May 24, 2013

One of the most common forms of heart valve disease is regurgitation, a disorder in which blood leaks backward across the patient’s aortic, mitral, pulmonary or tricuspid valve. So you know, my inbox is often filled with questions like, “What is a leaky heart valve?” and “Are leaking valves dangerous?” and “How are leaky valves treated?”

To answer those questions, I recently met with Dr. Kevin Accola, a leading cardiac surgeon from AdventHealth Cardiovascular Institute (formerly Florida Hospital) in Orlando. The highlights of our discussion about leaking heart valves are in the educational video below. So you know, Dr. Accola has performed successful surgery on many patients in our community including Denise Ring, Misti Blue, Scott Nieman and Duane Hunt. 🙂



I hope this video helped you learn more about leaky heart valves. Thanks to Dr. Accola for taking the time to share his clinical experience and research with our patient and caregiver community. And, many thanks to Doctor Accola and the AdventHealth (formerly Florida Hospital) team for helping so many people from our website!

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Search 10,000+ Pages of Heart Valve Information… Instantly!

By Adam Pick on May 23, 2013

Hey everybody,

During the past six years, the size of this website has grown from 10 to 100 to 1,000 to over 10,000 pages of heart valve information. Amazing, right?

However, as many of you have shared with me… Navigating to the right page, at the right time, can be difficult. For this reason, I asked my programming team to build a HUMONGOUS index of all the information at Several months later, I am very happy to announce that YOU can now search all of the content in that index using the search box located in the upper-right section of each page.


New Heart Valve Surgery Search Functionality


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Technology Update: Understanding TAVI with Dr. Michael Mack

By Adam Pick on May 19, 2013

If you have not heard of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), this post will introduce you to a breakthrough technology that recently received FDA approval for ‘inoperable’ and ‘high risk’ patients with severe aortic stenosis. If you have already heard of TAVI, the video below will provide you the latest update about TAVI from Dr. Michael Mack, a heart valve guru, a past-president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and one of the clinical pioneers of TAVI at The Heart Hospital in Dallas, Texas — where he practices.



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Joann Just Made My Day… My Year!

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2013

I really appreciate hearing from the patients and caregivers in our community. Your emails and your phone calls are beyond heart warming (pun intended). That said, I just received an update from Joann Heindorf, a 78-year old patient from Florida, that was simply… extraordinary.


Joann Heindorf – Heart Valve Surgery Patient


Joann’s update came in the form of an envelope that was mailed to my home.

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Understanding The Patient Perspective with Dr. Randolph Chitwood

By Adam Pick on May 8, 2013

It’s a rare occurrence when I meet a world-renown cardiac surgeon who has also been a patient.

That said, when I recently connected with Dr. Randolph Chitwood, I wanted to learn more about his heart surgery experience and how it shaped his career as a surgeon. So you know, Dr. Chitwood is a heart valve guru having pioneered many techniques including robotic mitral valve repair surgery.



Thanks to Dr. Randolph Chitwood for sharing his experiences as a patient and a surgeon. Also, I want to thank Dr. Chitwood and the East Carolina Heart Institute for taking such great care of many patients from our community including Scott Newson, Lori Glew and Amy Machty.

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“Why Is Ankle Swelling A Symptom Of Mitral Regurgitation?” Asks Andrea

By Adam Pick on May 8, 2013

I received a great question from Andrea about the symptoms of heart valve disease. In her note, Andrea writes to me, “Hi Adam, My 81-year old mom is experiencing symptoms due to mitral regurgitation. She is constantly short of breath and has ankle swelling. My question is… Why are her ankles swelling? Will that go away after surgery?”


Ankle Swelling Symptom Heart Valve Disease


To answer Andrea’s question, I contacted Dr. Adam Harmon, a cardiac surgeon from Sequoia Hospital in Northern California who has performed over 3,000 heart procedures and more than 400 valve operations. In his response to Andrea, Dr. Harmon explained:

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