By Adam Pick on May 17, 2012
I’m very excited about the relaunch of our website. At the same time, I’m also a bit nervous right now.
“Why is Adam nervous?” you might be wondering.
So you know… Over 100,000 lines of programming code are required to run this website. That said, no matter how much testing we’ve done — prior to the relaunch — there are bound to be problems. These problems are commonly referred to as programming bugs.
Typically, these bugs are relatively easy to fix. However, they can be annoying and frustrating at times.
If you happen to find a bug, please let me know by sending an email to email@example.com. Also, if you could tell me what browser you are using that would help too. Lastly, if you could screenshot the bug, that would be amazing. Our team will move quickly to resolve the issue.
In advance, thanks for your help and your patience!!!!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on April 26, 2012
Yesterday, I was incredibly fortunate to visit the Cleveland Clinic. While there, I met several cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, quality teams and administrators during a tour of the six-story Heart & Vascular Institute, commonly referred to as ‘HVI’.
I have to tell you… I wasn’t just impressed. I was very,very, very, very, very, very impressed.
Going into the visit, I knew that Cleveland Clinic was ranked #1 for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News and World Report for the past 17 years. I also knew that many members of our community raved about their patient experiences at Cleveland Clinic. However, I did not personally know what made HVI so unique. Now, as I write this on the plane ride home, I am starting to understand why Cleveland Clinic is so different, so reputable and so focused on valve surgery. During the tour, I identified 7 highlights about the Cleveland Clinic that I jotted down below.
By Adam Pick on April 25, 2012
Thanks to Ricky and everybody for your messages about my recent lapse in blog posts over the past few weeks.
So you know, I am healthy and doing well. I’ve just been very busy working on the launch of several new features for this website. That said, I wanted you to know that our website will undergo a number of changes in the near future. In addition to the new features, applications and content, the website will also look and feel a little bit different. We even have a new logo that some of you helped design!
As we begin to roll-out the new website, can I please, please, please ask for your patience and your help? While the new features have been tested, there are bound to be issues. If, by chance, you happen to find a bug or problem, will you let me know? We will do our best to fix those issues as soon as possible.
In advance, thanks for your support and participation at HeartValveSurgery.com.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on March 30, 2012
Here is a great patient update from Sara. You might recall that the last time we heard from Sara, who has a bicuspid aortic valve, dilated aortic root, and coarctation of the descending aorta, she was newly pregnant with with a baby girl. Well, I have some inspirational news to share directly from Sara. She writes to us:
Olivia Paige Bloomfield
Hi there! I hope you are well. It has been a few months and I wanted to send you an update that I have shared with a few women offline that I connected with via your blog.
In early January, my husband and I made the trip up to snowy Rochester, MN where we waited to deliver our daughter. On January 19th, we delivered our healthy little girl (Olivia Paige) at the Mayo Clinic by C-section. I felt that I was truly in great hands at Mayo. They delivered Olivia in a cardiac OR just to be extra safe in case I needed any intervention. My team of doctors also felt that it was best to deliver by C-section because of my dilated root. When I say ‘team,’ I truly mean it was a team effort.
By Adam Pick on March 30, 2012
I’ll be going to the Cleveland Clinic for a tour of their Heart Center from April 24-25. If, by chance, you happen to be at the Cleveland Clinic for surgery (or anything else), please let me know. I’d love to say “Hi!”
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on March 26, 2012
I recently received a great question from Jim about pig valve replacements. He wrote to me, “Hi Adam – The pros and cons of tissue valves vs. mechanical valves are pretty clear. I don’t understand, however, why pig tissue valve replacements are still used. They came on the scene before cow valves. Pig valves can have sudden failure with resulting patient mortality. Cow valves last longer and deteriorate slowly and predictably. Why don’t surgeons quit using pig valves? Thanks, Jim”
Porcine Heart Valve Replacement Device
I wanted to provide Jim an expert response, so I contacted two very experienced heart valve surgeons — Dr. Harold Roberts and Dr. Juergen Ennker. Together, these surgeons have over 50 years of cardiac surgery experience.
By Adam Pick on March 26, 2012
For those of you monitoring the progress of the transformational Edwards SAPIEN Valve, which replaces the aortic valve in “non-operable” patients, more encouraging data was just released at the American College of Cardiology Conference in Chicago. The SAPIEN is the first catheter-based device, approved by the FDA, that replaces a valve suffering from aortic valve stenosis without any trauma to the patient’s sternum or ribs.
In the latest study results:
By Adam Pick on March 23, 2012
I just received an interesting question from Denny about catheter heart valve replacement devices. Denny writes, “Hi Adam – I’m reading a lot about catheters being used for aortic valve replacement procedures. But, I never hear anything about using a catheter to replace the mitral valve. Why is that? Thanks, Denny”
Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement Device
By Adam Pick on March 21, 2012
The stories coming out of Heart Valve Journals have touched, moved and inspired me.
Last week, it was Jeff and Jim at Mount Sinai in New York. Today, its Cheryl, Peter, Duane, Peggy, Fran, Peter, Richard and Susan who recently connected in Florida.
Fran, Duane, Peter, Peggy, Susan, Richard, Peter, Cheryl
By Adam Pick on March 14, 2012
Sorry for the late notice… But, here is a great opportunity to learn more about heart valve disease and treatment. On Thursday, Dr. Lars Svensson and Dr. Murat Tuzcu, from the Cleveland Clinic, will hold a live webchat titled, “Valve Disease, Diagnosis, Interventions and Surgery”.
Keep on tickin!
With A “Top 10 Heart Song List” and Jeff Shebovsky By His Side, Jim Readies For His 2nd Mitral Valve Repair
By Adam Pick on March 12, 2012
There is not a day that goes by in which I am not inspired by you – the patients and caregivers of this community.
My “daily dose” of inspiration for Monday comes from Jim Smith, a mitral valve repair patient from Athens, Georgia. So you know, Jim will have his second mitral valve surgery on Tuesday to correct his leaky heart valve. The surgery will be performed by Doctor David Adams, MD, a leading mitral valve specialist from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Jim has inspired me for two reasons. First, Jim is using Heart Valve Journals in a way I never imagined. Not only is Jim connecting with patients online. But, he is actually meeting them in person… in the hospital! Yes, you read that right!
Jim Smith with Jeff Shebovsky at
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City
Above, you will see Jim with Jeff Shebovsky, who just underwent surgery at Mount Sinai for a bicuspid aortic valve. Seeing the smiling faces of these two guys actually brought tears to the top of my eyelids. I never, ever, ever imagined that this little website would evolve to a point where patients could enter a hospital knowing that their “online buddies” would be there… waiting for them… encouraging them… smiling with them in pictures that are immediately posted for the world to see.
Secondly, Jim has inspired me because of his “Top 10 Heart Song List”. So you know, I am a music fanatic. I love all types of music – from classical to jazz to reggae to country to good ole’ rock. That said, I keenly watched Jim’s journal as he posted songs that alluded to the wonder and power of the human heart.
By Adam Pick on March 9, 2012
As a follow-up to our last conversation about aortic valve replacement re-operations, Brian just sent me an interesting question about replacement devices that require leaflet repair.
Brian writes, “Hi Adam – My mitral valve was replaced 9 years ago. Unfortunately, after experiencing some symptoms, an echo showed that I need it fixed again due to a mitral leaflet issue. I’m curious to know if the surgeon will repair the leaflet or do they throw out the old valve and just give me a new one?”
I wanted to provide Brian an expert opinion, so I contacted Dr. Marc Gerdisch, the Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By Adam Pick on March 8, 2012
Great news everybody!
I just learned that Jeff Shebovsky, from Windermere, Florida, had a successful Ross Procedure yesterday. The double heart valve surgery was performed by Doctor Paul Stelzer at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Although Jeff was asymptomatic, a bicuspid aortic valve resulted in severe aortic stenosis.
Jeff, Carol, Brooke, Erica & Jason
As his wife, Carol, wrote in his journal:
Jeff is doing absolutely fantastic today. The doctors are amazed at how well he is doing. One doctor came over to ask him if he is ready to go into surgery. All his numbers including blood pressure, blood supply, oxygen, etc. are like he never had surgery. He’s talking a lot, eating ice chips, had a popsicle. They are planning to move him into a regular room real soon, within the next couple of hours….Carol
I want to thank Jeff for being so active within our community. If you have spent any time at Heart Valve Journals lately, you would have definitely seen how positive, caring and supportive Jeff has been to the other patients at this website.
By Adam Pick on March 6, 2012
I just received an interesting question from Jon about the durability of heart valve replacement devices. He writes, “Adam – I know that the bulk of your patient questions are in regard to upcoming surgeries. But, for those of us who have already had surgeries — like myself who had aortic valve replacement two years ago and I’m 60 years old now — what does my future look like? I was told that my bovine replacement would last 10, 15 or even 20 years. Will my future replacement be identical to the same surgery? Or, will I be looking at something else? Thanks, Jon”
Bovine Aortic Valve Replacement (Edwards Lifesciences)
While I have my thoughts on this topic, I wanted to provide Jon an expert opinion.
By Adam Pick on March 3, 2012
In case you missed it, Dr. Marc Gillinov and Dr. Steven Nissen were just on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. It’s a great interview that addresses several issues specific to cardiac disease including prevention, lifestyle choices, healthcare reform, diet, exercise, medical advances, workplace incentives, myths and treatment.
If you are interested to learn more about Dr. Gillinov’s and Dr. Nissen’s research, they recently published Heart 411, a fascinating book about heart disease and prevention.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on March 2, 2012
When starting a post like this, I don’t really know what to say… Or, how to say it.
That said, I am very sad and sorry to inform our community that Kelly Nugent passed away on Wednesday. As Katrina, her cousin, shared with me, “Kelly fought a long, hard fight after experiencing multiple, post-operative complications including excessive bleeding and infection. Following her heart surgery, several additional surgeries were needed to address the bleeding, the infection, and remove her gall bladder — which may have been the source of the infection. But, no one is really sure.”
This was the second major health issue for Kelly during her life. Twenty-five years ago, Kelly survived Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers are with Emma, Kelly’s mom, and her entire family.
By Adam Pick on February 26, 2012
Amazing!!! I just learned that our website was in the New York Daily News earlier this week!!!
In an insightful article titled, “Mitral Valve Leakage Can Lead To Heart Failure If Left Untreated”, Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu is interviewed about a very common form of heart valve disease known as mitral regurgitation, or a leaky heart valve. The article addresses several facets of leaking heart valves — anatomical issues, potential risks and treatment options.
Towards the end of the article, Dr. Anyanwu references websites that offer reliable information for patients and caregivers to consider. To my surprise, HeartValveSurgery.com is one of those resources! 🙂
Woo-Whoo! Thanks so much to Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu for his recommendation.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on February 24, 2012
After one of the most active spotlights in Heart Valve Journals’ history, Mitch Friedman has moved on to healthy, heart pumping pastures. 🙂
In his place, I’m thrilled to announce that Chris Dixon from Houston, Texas has taken the reins of our “Patient Spotlight”. Chris, who was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, was recently diagnosed with aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation.
To replace his aortic valve, Chris has selected the Ross Procedure to be performed by the Dr. Paul Stelzer at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
By Adam Pick on February 22, 2012
In connection with yesterday’s post, I received many interesting questions about the SAPIEN aortic valve replacement. For example, Bernard asked about the possibility of a “valve-in-valve” procedure. In his email, Bernard wrote, “My surgeon used a bovine tissue valve to replace my diseased aortic valve. If my new valve requires replacement in the future, can the SAPIEN be used?”
To ensure that Bernard received an appropriate answer to his question, I contacted Dr. Eric Roselli, a leading cardiac surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic.
By Adam Pick on February 21, 2012
I just received an interesting question from Anita about the SAPIEN heart valve replacement.
Anita wrote to me, “Hi Adam, My dad is not doing very well. At 86, he’s been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. We understand that he might be a candidate for the SAPIEN valve. My dad is a big guy. I’m curious to know if the valve can expand to fit all valve sizes. Or, are there limitations given the size of the catheter? By the way, what is the normal size of an aortic valve?”
Edwards SAPIEN Aortic Valve Replacement
I wanted to provide Anita an expert opinion so I contacted Dr. Craig Smith, the principal investigator for the SAPIEN clinical trials.