By Adam Pick on December 7, 2011
Sorry for the last minute notice, but tomorrow (Thursday) at 12pm (EST), The Cleveland Clinic will host a special web chat titled, “Stress, Depression & Heart Disease”. Dr. Leo Pozuelo, who is the associate director of the Bakken Heart Brain Institute, will moderate this very interesting session.
As I personally experienced issues with cardiac depression following surgery, I encourage all patients to attend this event. So you know, my research suggests that up to 32% of patients can experience depression after heart valve surgery. To learn more about cardiac depression, click here.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on November 28, 2011
Recently, Jim sent me a great question that reads, “Adam – I’m 65 and diagnosed with moderate aortic valve stenosis. It seems there are a couple of different types of minimally invasive surgery. Can you help me understand that better?” (To learn more about aortic stenosis, click here.)
I was very fortunate to ask this exact question to Dr. Marc Gillinov, a leading heart valve surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic, at the Heart Valve Summit. The highlights of our discussion are provided in this video. (For the patients and caregivers of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript below.)
Thanks to Jim for his question and a special thanks to Dr. Marc Gillinov for his continued support of this website. As you may know, Dr. Gillinov has performed successful surgery on many patients in our community including Robin Williams (the actor and comedian), Don Spencer, Fran Zilko, Sandy Gilbert and Anita Devine.
Heart Valve Summit Video #8: “Is There Anything I Can Do To Ensure My Heart Valve Repair Will Last Forever?” asks Emilyrae
By Adam Pick on November 25, 2011
Recently, I received a great question from Emilyrae. She wrote, “Adam – I am a healthy person. I’m 68-years old and I just had a successful mitral valve repair. I’m curious to know, is there anything I can do to ensure that this repair will last the rest of my life?”
While at the Heart Valve Summit, I was fortunate to discuss Emilyrae’s question with Dr. Salenger, the Director of Valve Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York. The video below contains the highlights of our discussion. (For the members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of this video below.)
Thanks to Emilyrae for her question and a special thanks to Dr. Rawn Salenger for taking the time to educate our community about this very important post-operative topic.
Heart Valve Summit Video #7: “Are All Patients Candidates For Robotic Mitral Valve Repair?” Asks Evan
By Adam Pick on November 22, 2011
A few days before the Heart Valve Summit, Evan sent me a great question that reads, “Adam – Specific to mitral valve repair with a robot… Are all patients candidates for this surgical technique?”
To provide Evan an expert opinion, I discussed this topic with Dr. Harold Roberts, MD, an experienced heart valve surgeon from WVU Medicine in West Virginia. Here are the highlights from our discussion. (A transcript of this interview is provided below for those patients and caregivers in our community who are hearing impaired.)
Thanks to Evan for his great question and a special thanks to Dr. Harold Roberts for sharing his clinical expertise with our community. To learn more about Dr. Roberts and his practice, please click here.
By Adam Pick on November 22, 2011
If you didn’t know… Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday.
How can you go wrong with comfort food, family, friends and the overwhelming reminder of thankfulness? On that note, I want to extend a tremendous “Thank you!” to all members of this growing community of patients, caregivers, surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, cardiac centers and medical device manufacturers.
Together, we are empowering each other in a way that I never imagined when this project started five years ago. I am continuously touched, moved and inspired by your words, your stories, your encouragement and your ongoing pursuit of healthy hearts.
May you have a very happy and a very safe Thanksgiving!
Special Announcement: Don’t Miss “Ask The Surgeon” Web Chat With Dr. Bruce Lytle Of The Cleveland Clinic
By Adam Pick on November 21, 2011
I just learned some great news! Dr. Bruce Lytle, Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Heart Institute, will be hosting a special, live web chat titled “Ask The Heart Surgeon” this Wednesday at 12 pm (EST). Needless to say, this is an exciting opportunity for patients and caregivers to gain direct access to one of the leading heart valve surgeons.
So you know… Dr. Bruce Lytle is Chairman of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and a staff cardiac surgeon in the Cleveland Clinic Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. To learn more about Dr. Lytle, click here.
Dr. Lytle has a special interest in coronary artery disease, arterial bypass grafting, valvular heart diseases, valve surgery, re-operations and diseases of the thoracic aorta. Thanks to Betsy for letting our patient and caregiver community know about this fantastic event!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on November 17, 2011
Prior to the Heart Valve Summit, Wanda sent me two great questions. She wrote, “Adam – What is the oldest person that a surgeon has operated on? Is it common for the elderly to have heart valve surgery? Thanks! Wanda”
As I receive this question often — from patients and caregivers — I wanted to provide Wanda an expert opinion. For that reason, I met with Dr. Steven Bolling, heart surgeon and Director of The Mitral Valve Clinic at the University of Michigan. Here are the highlights from our discussion.
By Adam Pick on November 17, 2011
In case you missed it… Some very interesting reports came out about the SAPIEN, a non-invasive aortic valve replacement for patients with aortic stenosis that just received FDA approval for inoperable patients, at the recent Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in San Francisco.
By Adam Pick on November 13, 2011
Emotions are powerful. They surface quickly. They alter biochemistry. They transform seconds into memorable moments.
Recently, several of my emotions — thankfulness, appreciation, humility, indebtedness — appeared during a special chat with Doctor Vaughn Starnes, my surgeon. What began as a discussion about pediatric mitral valve repair, quickly turned into an emotional moment as I stood next to the man who changed my life.
By Adam Pick on November 11, 2011
Jake sent me a great question relating to pain, minimally invasive surgical approaches and recovery. He writes, “Adam — I hear a lot about minimally invasive procedures being much better for pain and recovery. Is that true? Thanks, Jake”
During the Heart Valve Summit, I was very fortunate to ask Jake’s question to Dr. Kevin Accola, a leading cardiac surgeon who has performed over 9,000 cardiac procedures including 2,400 heart valve operations. Here are the highlights from our discussion:
Thanks to Jake for his question and a special thanks to Dr. Kevin Accola for taking the time to meet with us and share his clinical expertise. As you may know, Dr. Accola has performed successful surgery on many members of our community including:
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.
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?”
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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!
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.
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?