Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 34

Surgeon Q & A: Important Facts About Atrial Fibrillation & Heart Valve Disease with Dr. Vincent Gaudiani

By Adam Pick on March 26, 2013

While heart valve disease can be an isolated diagnosis, it is often accompanied by other conditions including coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysm and atrial fibrillation.

To learn more about atrial fibrillation, I met with Dr. Vincent Gaudiani who has performed successful valve surgery on over 50 patients from our community including Roland Watson, Robert Alvernaz and Karen Weinstein.



I hope that helped you learn more about atrial fibrillation, its causes and treatment options. Many thanks to Dr. Gaudiani for taking the time to share his clinical experience and research with our community.

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Medical Mission Update #4: Ramona & Junior Get A “Second Chance” At Life In The Dominican Republic

By Adam Pick on March 22, 2013

The joy I experienced on Day One of the Medical Mission amplified on the second day — as two patients, with severely leaking heart valves, underwent mitral valve repair surgery in the Dominican Republic.


Ramona de la Cruz With Family & Doctors Before Surgery
Dr. Bernarda Cedano, Ramona de la Cruz (with family) & Dr. Fred Milla


The first patient was Ramona de la Cruz. At 68 years young, Ramona, a Jehovah’s Witness, suffered from severe mitral regurgitation. As you can see above, Ramona was surrounded by loving members of her family including her daughter and grand-daughter.

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Surgeon Q & A: The Critical Facts About Mitral Regurgitation with Dr. Patrick McCarthy

By Adam Pick on March 18, 2013

As many patients in our community have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, I recently met with Doctor Patrick McCarthy to better understand the important facts about this valvular disorder.

So you know… Dr. McCarthy is an inventor and a cardiac surgeon — having performed over 4,000 mitral valve procedures during his 23-year career. Plus, he’s a super nice guy who has helped many patients from our website.



I hope this video helped you learn more about the causes, the progression and the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation. Thanks to Dr. McCarthy for meeting with me and sharing his clinical experience and research with our community.

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Medical Mission Update #3 – An Amazing Day in Santo Domingo!

By Adam Pick on March 15, 2013

I awoke this morning in Santo Domingo with a good feeling. During the day, that feeling transformed from good… to great… to inspired… to extraordinary. The source of that transformation was ‘Day One’ of the Mount Sinai Medical Mission at Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud (HGPS) in the Dominican Republic. While I could ramble on-and-on about all that we experienced today, I thought it might be fun to share several pictures from this altruistic event.


Leonel Pirchardo With Family Before Surgery
Leonel Pirchado & Family


First, consider the picture of Leonel Pirchado, his wife, three daughters and son-in-law. Leonel, who was the first patient of the day, was diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation in September. Leonel had a unique disorder known as Barlow’s disease. To remedy that disorder, the Mount Sinai – HGPS team performed a complex bi-leaflet valve repair.

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Surgeon Q & A: Understanding the Connection Between Heart Failure and Valve Disease with Dr. Edwin McGee

By Adam Pick on March 12, 2013

As we have learned together, failing to properly treat valvular disorders can be tragic for patients, their families and friends.  Heart valve disorders — including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation — can cause temporary damage to the cardiac muscle and, ultimately, heart failure.

I wanted to learn more about the connection between heart failure and valvular disease so I recently met with Dr. Edwin McGee. This educational video contains the highlights of that interview. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.



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Medical Mission Update #2 – How Is Dr. Ricardo Lazala Preparing Mount Sinai For The Mission?

By Adam Pick on March 12, 2013

As I prepare to join the Mount Sinai team for a Medical Mission to the Dominican Republic, I wanted to learn more about this philanthropic effort to treat patients with heart valve disease. For that reason, I contacted Dr. Ricardo Lazala, the Mission Director and Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai. Below, you will find the highlights from our conversation.


 Dr. Ricardo Lazala With Patient
Dr. Ricardo Lazala, Mission Director, with Patient in Dominican Republic (2011)


Adam: Thanks so much for connecting with me today. I’m very excited to join your team in the Dominican Republic on March 13-17. I’m curious… How long has this mission been in the planing process?

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After Giving Birth to Olivia, Sara Readies for Aortic Valve Replacement and Aorta Repair Surgery

By Adam Pick on March 10, 2013

Over the years, I have been very fortunate to know Sara Bloomfield. I first shared Sara’s story in 2011 — after Sara and her husband, Matt, became pregnant while closely monitoring her bicuspid aortic valve, dilated aorta and coarctation of the descending aorta. Then, in 2012, we celebrated the birth of their daughter, Olivia.

Now, after several years of “watchful waiting”, Sara is scheduled for aortic valve replacement and aorta repair surgery on March 21.


Sara, Matt & Olivia
Sara, Matt & Olivia


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If You Like It… “Like” It!

By Adam Pick on March 10, 2013

Hey everybody,

As you may have already noticed, we’re starting to roll-out social sharing icons — for Facebook and Twitter — across this blog and other parts of the website. Now, if you like a post… You can share it with a simple click of a button. How neat is that?


Facebook Icon With Thumbs Up


I hope you “Like” this new feature.

Keep on tickin!

Fact or Fiction: Aortic Stenosis Can Be “Fatal”

By Adam Pick on March 5, 2013

A common question I receive from patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis is, “Can this disease really be fatal?”

To provide our community with an expert response to that question, I interviewed Dr. Marc Gillinov at the recent STS conference in Los Angeles. So you know, Dr. Gillinov is a cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, co-author of Heart 411 and… a super nice guy.



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Medical Mission Update #1: Dominican Republic Here We Come!

By Adam Pick on March 2, 2013

Ready for some exciting news?

After a very, very, very unexpected invitation… I just booked my flights to attend a Cardiac Surgery Medical Mission in the Dominican Republic from March 13-17.


Adam Pick To Join Mount Sinai In Dominican Republic


During this special mission, several members of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, led by Dr. David Adams, MD, will travel to Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, to teach surgical techniques at the Hospital General Plaza de La Salud (HGPS).

The mission is part of the Mount Sinai – HGPS Cardiovascular Initiative, a philanthropic effort in which these two teams collaborate to provide cardiac surgery to Dominican patients with limited financial resources. Since 2011, the Mount Sinai team has been to the Dominican Republic on two separate occasions — in which they performed both heart valve repair and heart valve replacement procedures.

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True or False: A Heart Murmur Is Similar To A Rocky River

By Adam Pick on February 25, 2013

At the recent Society of Thoracic Surgeons conference, I was fortunate to reconnect with Dr. Junaid Khan, MD, the Director of Cardiovascular Services at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California. During our discussion, Dr. Khan shared an interesting analogy about heart murmurs that I felt was really helpful for patients.

In this video, you will learn a lot about heart murmurs — causes, progression, risks and treatment. You will also learn how heart murmurs are somewhat similar to a rocky river.



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Understanding The Ross Procedure with Dr. Peter Skillington

By Adam Pick on February 25, 2013

Lately, I have received a lot of patient questions about the Ross Procedure — a unique type of aortic valve replacement surgery.

To help you learn about the Ross Procedure, I recently met with Dr. Peter Skillington, an Australian cardiac surgeon. So you know, Dr. Skillington has performed over 340 Ross Procedure operations for patients with aortic valve disease. (A written transcript of our discussion is provided below.)



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Robert, The Elk Hunter, Celebrates 5th Anniversary After Surgery!

By Adam Pick on February 23, 2013

I just received another patient success story. In this update, Robert Green, celebrates his 5th anniversary after a re-implantation of his aortic valve and aortic root replacement. (The procedure is also known as a valve-sparing operation or a David Procedure.)


Robert Green, David Procedure Patient Of Dr. Lars SvenssonRobert Green – Heart Valve Surgery Patient


In his update, Robert shared:

Hi Adam –

In 2007, I was shocked to learn that I had an aortic root aneurysm.

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Saturday Silly: The Amazing Human Body?

By Adam Pick on February 23, 2013

My dad, Jerry, just sent me this interesting note about the human body…


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“Is Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Surgery Safe Compared to a Sternotomy?” asks Ken

By Adam Pick on February 21, 2013

I received a great question from Ken. In his email, Ken writes, “Hi Adam – After being diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in 1995, I now need surgery to fix the valve. During my research, I have come across robotic valve repair surgery. My question… Is this procedure safe compared to a sternotomy?””

To answer Ken’s question, I recently met with Dr. T. Sloane Guy, MD, a leading heart surgeon. The highlights of our conversation are provided in this video interview. (For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.)



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What Is A Common Misconception About Mitral Valve Repair?

By Adam Pick on February 19, 2013

At the recent STS conference in Los Angeles, I was able to meet and discuss several important topics about heart valve surgery with leading cardiac surgeons.

In this video, Dr. Marc Gerdisch, MD, who recently performed mitral valve repair on Angie Gregory, addressed a common misconception among patients who have been diagnosed with severe mitral valve disease. That misconception is that a heart valve replacement is better than a heart valve repair. To learn more, please press play on the video. Also, I have included a written transcript for the hearing impaired members of our community below.



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Yeah! Our New ‘Educational Video Library’ Is Now Available!

By Adam Pick on February 18, 2013

Over the past few months, I’ve received several pieces of constructive criticism that we needed to create a video library. Both patients and caregivers shared with me that our original videos were very helpful but scattered all over the website. I completely agreed.

Well… Today, I’m happy to announce that we just launched a new ‘Educational Video Library’ at It’s not perfect. It still needs work. But, I thought you might like to see the new section of the website — which is now reachable by clicking the ‘Videos’ link in the top navigation. You can also, click here.


The New Educational Video Library

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Technology Update: Your Smartphone and Your Heart

By Adam Pick on February 18, 2013

Very neat!



Keep on tickin!

Understanding Heart Valve Surgery Re-Operations with Dr. Anyanwu

By Adam Pick on February 12, 2013

One of the unfortunate realities of heart valve surgery is the possibility of a re-operation. Patients may need a re-operation due to valve device failure, post-operative issues relating to heart valve repair or the progression of valve disease.

To learn more about heart valve re-operations, I recently met with Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu, MD. So you know, Dr. Anyanwu specializes in complex, heart valve re-operations at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. The highlights of our discussion are provided in this video interview. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.



While re-operations may be part of a patient’s long-term treatment of valve therapy, I know that if my own heart valve replacements should fail in the future… I’d prefer having another operation compared to the fatal alternative.

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“What About Dementia and Delirium After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks a Concerned Wife

By Adam Pick on February 11, 2013

As many patients will tell you… Waking up in an intensive care unit (ICU) after heart valve surgery can be a very dislocating experience. Personally, I remember thinking, “Holy moly! What the heck just happened? What are all those noises? And, why is this massive tube stuck down my throat?”

For that reason, I am always incredibly sensitive to patient questions that address time spent in the ICU. As you will read below, I recently received a question from a Concerned Wife about dementia and delirium after cardiac surgery.


Learning About Dementia and Delirium After Hear Surgery


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