By Adam Pick on June 25, 2011
When evaluating surgical options for a heart valve replacement procedure, a common patient concern is selecting the “right” mechanical or tissue valve. Specific to this topic, Jenny recently wrote to me, “Hi Adam – I’m 38 years old and need aortic valve replacement surgery. The durability of a mechanical valve is attractive but it seems like so many people, of all ages, are getting tissue valves. Is that a trend that I should be paying attention to?”
I was very fortunate to ask Dr. Richard Shemin, cardiac surgeon and the Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UCLA Medical Center, this exact question. Here are the highlights from our discussion.
Thanks to Jenny for her question and a special thanks to Dr. Shemin for taking the time to discuss this important question with our community.
For those patients who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written, video transcript of my discussion with Dr. Shemin below.
By Adam Pick on June 24, 2011
Although the MitraClip was recently recalled, one of our favorite patient success stories continues to be Kato Pomer from Los Angeles. As you might recall, Kato underwent a MitraClip procedure two years ago following a quick onset of severe mitral regurgitation.
Kato Pomer, 94, Mitral Valve Repair Patient
Yesterday, I learned that Kato just celebrated her 94th birthday. That said, I wanted to wish Kato a very, very, very happy birthday!
Keep on tickin’ Kato!
By Adam Pick on June 21, 2011
Recently, I received a great question from Donald, a 64-year old patient, who suffers from mitral valve regurgitation. While evaluating his surgical options, Donald asked me, “Adam – My research suggests that mitral valve repair surgery is preferred to mitral valve replacement… Why is that?”
I was very fortunate to discuss Donald’s question with Dr. David H. Adams, a leading heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve reconstruction, at the Mitral Conclave in New York City.
Thanks to Donald for his question and a special thanks to Dr. David Adams for his ongoing support of our community. To learn more about Dr. Adams, who is the Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, please click here.
If you are hearing impaired, I have provided a transcript of this video interview below.
By Adam Pick on June 13, 2011
When diagnosed with a life threatening illness, such as severe heart valve disease, patients often confront uncomfortable emotions. Personally, I remember feelings of fear, anxiety and confusion. How me manage those emotions is often a test of our character, our courage, our self and our love for life.
One patient who just passed this test with flying colors is… Matt Fountain from Sarasota, Florida.
I first learned of Matt’s story six weeks ago. In an email, Matt told me that he was scheduled for an aortic valve replacement and an aortic root replacement surgery due to severe aortic stenosis and an aneurysm. (To learn more about stenosis, click here.)
By Adam Pick on June 13, 2011
On the heels of the FDA approval for its Trifecta heart valve replacement, St. Jude Medical just announced that Dr. John Webb of St. Paul’s Hospital in Canada has completed the first human implant of the new Portico aortic valve replacement.
Portico TAVR Valve
The Portico heart valve replacement falls into a “next generation” category of transcatheter devices that do not require the patient’s sternum or ribs to be broken during implant – via median sternotomy or thoracotomy. Instead, the Portico aortic valve replacement is implanted in the heart using a catheter inserted through the femoral artery or the left ventricle.
By Adam Pick on June 8, 2011
I just received an interesting question from Peter about the progression of aortic stenosis. Peter writes, “Adam, I was diagnosed with moderate aortic stenosis two years ago. Unfortunately, I lost my job and have not had an echo in several years. I’m experiencing shortness of breath. Is it possible that the severity of stenosis has progressed that quickly?”
While at the recent American Association for Thoracic Surgeons meeting in Philadelphia, I was fortunate to ask Dr. Junaid Khan, MD, from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, this exact question. During our discussion, Dr. Khan provided some chilling data about aortic stenosis, its progression, its symptoms and mortality associated with this disease.
By Adam Pick on June 6, 2011
Considering that over 45 million residents of the United States do not have health insurance, my inbox is filled with questions about the costs of heart valve surgery. Many of those emails inquire about the use of foreign, cardiac centers for valvular treatment.
Medical Tourists For Mitral Valve Repair – Robin Steel & Ros Hernmarck
As you may already know, several patients within this community have traveled abroad with positive results. For example, Robin Steel and Ros Hernmarck both traveled to India for mitral valve repair surgery. Recently, however, I’ve learned that facilities in Europe are offering medical tourism packages which compete on quality, cost and access to “next-generation” technologies.
To learn more about heart valve surgery programs in Germany, I contacted Dr. Juergen Ennker, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at MediClin Heart Center, which is close to Frankfurt. Here are the highlights of my interview with Dr. Ennker.
Dr. Juergen Ennker, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, MediClin Heart Center
Adam: Dr. Ennker thanks so much for chatting with me today.
Dr. Juergen Ennker: I have to thank you Adam. You are increasing the quality of care for heart valve patients around the world.
By Adam Pick on June 4, 2011
In my opinion, this is quite inspiring and extraordinary…
I just spent some time at HeartValveJournals.com — our social network created for heart valve surgery patients and their caregivers. While there, I clicked on Judy Fridono’s journal to see how she was doing after her mitral valve replacement and quadruple bypass operation. (Click here to learn more about replacing the mitral valve.)
I was happy to see that Judy is continuing to recover after her surgery. At 12 weeks post-op, Judy writes, “I guess I’m feeling pretty good. I’d say I’m 90% back to normal. Unfortunately, I don’t have more energy than I did pre-surgery.”
By Adam Pick on June 1, 2011
At the recent AATS meeting in Philadelphia, I was very fortunate to meet with Dr. Craig Smith, the chairman of surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center.
Considering that Dr. Smith is a principal investigator on the PARTNER clinical trial – which is evaluating transcatheter aortic valve replacements – it was very helpful to get his opinions specific to Leslie’s question about technology.
Thanks to Leslie for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Smith for sharing his thoughts, clinical experience and research specific to the future of aortic valve replacement using percutaneous technology.
For those members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of Dr. Smith’s video interview below.
By Adam Pick on May 26, 2011
During his 40-year career, Dr. Larry Cohn has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures at leading heart centers including Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Interestingly, Dr. Cohn is much more than a world renown surgeon, author and educator, he is also… a former aortic valve replacement patient.
Needless to say, it was an honor to visit with Dr. Cohn at the recent 91st Annual American Association for Thoracic Surgeons Meeting in Philadelphia. During our chat, Dr. Cohn addressed a common, patient question about preparing for heart surgery. Specifically, Dr. Cohn answered Fred’s question, “As I prepare for mitral valve repair surgery, should I maintain, increase or decrease my exercise program?”
Thanks to Fred for his question. And, a very special thanks to Dr. Larry Cohn for his commitment, dedication and pursuit of healthy heart valves. For the members of our community that are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript to this video interview with Dr. Cohn below.
Bill Gets Successful Aortic Root & Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery, Thanks To Margarita And Dr. Stewart
By Adam Pick on May 22, 2011
It is an unexpected privilege and honor to support the patients and the caregivers of this community.
When I started this online project five years ago, I never thought my inbox would receive empowering stories from so many people including Bill Easton, Margarita Easton and Dr. Allan Stewart.
Bill, 86, and Margarita Easton
Web Chat Announcement: “Percutaneous Valve Treatment” With Dr. Svensson and Dr. Tuzcu From The Cleveland Clinic
By Adam Pick on May 21, 2011
Sorry for the last minute notice… But, I just learned that The Cleveland Clinic will be hosting a special Internet chat on Monday, May 23rd, at 12pm (EST). The exciting topic of the web chat will be percutaneous heart valve treatments. The moderators for the event will be Dr. Lars Svensson, director of the aorta program, and Dr. Murat Tuzcu, vice chairman of the cardiology department.
By Adam Pick on May 20, 2011
Last week, at the American Association for Thoracic Surgeons meeting, Ted sent me a great question about atrial fibrillation after heart valve surgery. He writes, “Dear Adam, I had my aortic valve replaced. The new valve is a pericardial tissue heart valve. What causes A-Fib after surgery? I had one incident of A-Fib while in the hospital followed by four more incidents two weeks after surgery. Thank you! Ted”
To help Ted, I asked Dr. Niv Ad, the chief of cardiac surgery at Inova Heart & Vascular Institute in Falls Church, Virginia, this exact question. So you know, a key research initiative of Dr. Ad’s practice focuses on atrial fibrillation. Here is Dr. Ad’s video response to Ted.
I want to thank Ted for his question. Plus, I have to offer a special thanks to Dr. Niv Ad for his continued support of this patient and caregiver community. Dr. Ad has really helped transform this resource from an ordinary website into an extra-ordinary community. Thanks Dr. Ad!!!
For those of you who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of this video interview below.
By Adam Pick on May 20, 2011
Over the years, I have heard from many patients who wanted to learn about the Trifecta heart valve replacement and its clinical trials. As you might recall, this aortic valve replacement device is described by St. Jude Medical, its manufacturer, as a “next generation” heart valve replacement that:
- Contains three pericardial tissue leaflets;
- Uses a titanium stent covered with polyester and pericardial tissue; and
- Leverages St. Jude’s patented Linx AC Technology to help prevent aortic valve calcification after implant.
Trifecta Heart Valve Replacement (St. Jude Medical)
By Adam Pick on May 17, 2011
I really enjoy hearing from patients after their heart valve procedures. Their stories are often filled with inspiration and unique patient perspective. For example, here is a recent email from David Hooper following his aortic valve replacement surgery.
David writes to me…
By Adam Pick on May 14, 2011
Sophia sent me a very appropriate question about two emotions experienced by most patients prior to heart valve surgery. She writes, “Adam – I’m 62 and diagnosed with mitral regurgitation. I need surgery and I’m scared out of my mind. Is there anything the surgeons can share that could ease my fear and anxiety?”
Luckily, I was able to ask this exact question to Dr. Marc Gillinov, MD, a leading surgeon from The Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Gillinov has performed over 2,500 heart valve procedures during his career.
An Incredible Opportunity To Learn From Professor Alain Carpentier, The “Father” Of Modern Heart Valve Surgery
By Adam Pick on May 13, 2011
I’m a history buff. That said, I was beyond excited to meet Professor Alain Carpentier at the Mitral Conclave. If you did not know, Professor Carpentier is widely regarded as the “Father” of modern heart valve surgery.
Adam, Professor Alain Carpentier, Dr. David Adams & Dr. Friedrich Mohr
After the introduction, I was fortunate to witness the filming of a very, very, very special interview with Professor Carpentier. Thanks to Dr. David Adams and Dr. Randy Martin, I am able to share portions of that interview below.
I encourage all patients and caregivers to watch this video and learn about this incredible man. As you will hear, Professor Carpentier’s curiosity triggered many of the innovations that transformed valvular treatment.
For those members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of Professor Alain Carpentier’s video interview below.
By Adam Pick on May 13, 2011
Since launching this blog five years ago, I’ve been very fortunate to attend unique events related to heart valve surgery. Last Friday, I attended a Medtronic “Wet Lab” at the Mitral Conclave in New York City. As the pictures and videos below illustrate, this was a memorable experience.
Dr. Vinay Badhwar Moderates The Heart Valve Repair Wet Lab
During the 90-minute session, led by Dr. David Adams and Dr. Vinay Badhwar, an ordinary conference room in the Sheraton hotel was transformed into a medical laboratory. There, heart valve surgeons — from around the world — exchanged views and opinions about heart valve repair techniques using annuloplasty rings.
“Even Though I’m Already Diagnosed With Mitral Regurgitation, Is It Possible I Will Never Need Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Debby
By Adam Pick on May 9, 2011
While at the Mitral Conclave, I was fortunate to meet with Dr. Kevin Accola, a leading mitral valve surgeon from Orlando, Florida. During our discussion, I asked Dr. Accola a question submitted by Debby about mitral valve repair. (Click here to learn about mitral valve repair operations.)
Debby asked, “I was diagnosed with a severe mitral regurgitation disorder over 5 years ago. Now, at 42, I have no symptoms or health concerns. Is it possible that I will never need a mitral valve repair? Or, is that wishful thinking?”
Thanks to Debby for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Kevin Accola for sharing his clinical expertise with us!
For those of you who are hearing impaired, please find below a transcript of our discussion.
By Adam Pick on May 8, 2011
Since Friday, I’ve received several questions from patients and caregivers in our community about the 2011 Mitral Conclave in New York City. To share more insight about the Mitral Conclave, I asked Dr. David Adams, the program director, to describe the origins of this very unique event. Here is what Dr. Adams shared with me.
So you know, this is Part I of my interview with Doctor Adams. Please stay tuned… In the next few days, I will be posting Dr. Adams’ response to one of your questions about mitral regurgitation disease and mitral valve repair.