Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 35

Surgeon Interview: Understanding Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Valve Surgery with Dr. Hyde Russell

By Adam Pick on February 1, 2013

One educational area that I plan to discuss more in the future is pediatric and adult congenital heart valve surgery. While we have discussed this topic in the past, the amount of educational content at this website for children, parents, grandparents and friends is not overwhelming.

For that reason, I recently met with Dr. Hyde Russell, MD, a pediatric and adult congenital heart surgeon, during a recent trip to Chicago. The highlights of our discussion are provided in the video below. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.



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Special Web Chat Series Announced By The Cleveland Clinic

By Adam Pick on January 31, 2013

Hey everybody,

I just learned that during February — which is Heart Awareness Month — the Cleveland Clinic will be hosting several, educational web chats. As shown on the schedule below, this is a special opportunity to connect with the leading cardiologists and heart surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic.  To learn more or register for these events, please click here.


The Schedule Of Web Chats During February


If you are evaluating a heart valve repair or heart valve replacement procedure, I would strongly encourage you to attend these online events. To learn more or register for these events, please click here.

Keep on tickin!

Angie Feels 15 Younger After Mitral Valve Repair Thanks To Dr. Gerdisch

By Adam Pick on January 24, 2013

The patient success stories and surgeon testimonials continue to roll in. This time, Angie Gregory sent me a fantastic update following her mitral valve repair surgery.


Angie Gregory - Mitral Valve Repair Patient Of Dr. Marc GerdischAngie Gregory – Mitral Valve Repair Patient


In her note, Angie writes:

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“What Symptoms & Echocardiogram Readings Determine Heart Failure?” Asks Jesse

By Adam Pick on January 18, 2013

I just received an interesting email from Jesse regarding mitral regurgitation, heart failure and echocardiograms.

Jesse writes to me, “Hi Adam – I recently learned that I suffer from severe mitral regurgitation. While I was diagnosed with a heart murmur many years ago, it appears the disease progressed quickly.  I haven’t had an echo for a few years and I’m now short of breath constantly. My cardiologist used the term ‘heart failure’ during my last appointment. I’m curious to know what echocardiogram readings determine that I am approaching heart failure? I’m looking at an echocardiogram print-out and do not understand any of the numbers in front of me. Or, is heart failure diagnosed just by my symptoms? Can you help me?”


Fatigued Heart In Failure


I wanted to provide Jesse an expert response, so I contacted Doctor Hiroo Takayama from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. So you know, Dr. Takayama is an assistant professor of surgery and recent recipient of 2012 the Dwight C. McGoon Award for educating and mentoring cardiac surgery physicians in training. Heart failure is one of Dr. Takyama’s specialties.

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Three Years After Mitral Valve Repair, Patricia Considers Her Surgery A Blessing

By Adam Pick on January 15, 2013

I just received a great, 3-year anniversary update from Patricia Shabel of Los Angeles, California. Patricia had a mitral valve repair operation after being diagnosed with a heart murmur and a leaky valve over 40 years ago.


Patricia Shabel, Mitral Valve Repair Patient Of Dr. Alfredo Trento Patricia Shabel – Mitral Valve Repair Patient


In her note, Patricia writes to me:

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“Is It Possible To De-Calcify A Heart Valve Without Repairing Or Replacing It?” Asks Gwen

By Adam Pick on January 15, 2013

I just received an interesting question from Gwen about the treatment of calcified heart valves.

Gwen writes, “Hi Adam – I was diagnosed with a murmur 12 years ago when I was 49 years old. It’s gotten worse and I’m told that I need surgery. My cardiologist said that the valve has severe aortic stenosis and the valve is calcified. I’m curious to know… Is it ever possible for the surgeons to “de-calcify” the valve without having to repair of replace the valve or its leaflets?”


Calcified Bicuspid Aortic Heart Valve
Calcified Aortic Heart Valve (Aortic Stenosis


To provide Gwen an expert response, I contacted Doctor Junaid Khan, the Director of Cardiovascular Services at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. As you may have seen, Dr. Khan and Alta Bates have hosted several educational seminars for patients in Northern California.

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Mark Experiences A ‘Change of Heart’ Thanks To Dr. Allan Stewart

By Adam Pick on January 8, 2013

[Update: Please note that Dr. Allan Stewart is no longer performing surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.]

I just received a patient testimonial that made me stop and think, “Wow! That is great!”

As you can read below, Mark Lampersberger, who was operated on December 12, 2012, had a literal and metaphorical ‘change of heart’ after connecting with Dr. Allan Stewart, the Director of the Aortic Surgery Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.


Mark Lampersberger - Success Story Of Dr. Allan Stewart, MDMark Lampersberger with Christian (8-months old)


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Tech Update: NeoChord Mitral Valve Repair Device Gets CE Mark

By Adam Pick on January 8, 2013

As we continue to monitor the newest technologies enhancing valvular therapy, I though you might like to know that the NeoChord mitral valve repair system recently received a CE mark for use in Europe.

This unique device, which is not FDA approved in America, enables minimally invasive implantation of artificial chordae using a catheter-based approach. If you did not know, the chordae support the mitral valve leaflets as they open-and-close to move the blood through your heart. If the chordae fail to function properly — due to degenerative (age) or other factors — mitral valve regurgitation can result in the patient.


NeoChord Mitral Valve Repair System


Similar to other catheter-based technologies, also known as percutaneous technologies, use of the NeoChord does not require any trauma to the patient’s ribs or sternum AND the patient does not need to go on the heart-lung machine.

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“Happy Holidays!” From Ethan, Robyn & Me

By Adam Pick on December 24, 2012

On Friday, I celebrated my 7th anniversary from heart valve surgery.

The day was filled with many happy emotions. In particular, the emotion of thankfulness was present. I am so incredibly thankful for the medical miracle that has extended my life and provided me the opportunity to marry Robyn and bring Ethan, our son, into this world.

In addition, I am beyond thankful for the patients, family members and friends who visit this website. Thanks to your help, your participation, your ideas, your caring thoughts, and your love, we have created a special resource that will help patients for years to come.


Happy Holidays Card From The Pick Family - 2012

That said, I would like to wish you the happiest of holidays!

All the best in 2013!

Keep on tickin!

48 Hours After Heart Valve Surgery, Eric Proposes To Justine At The Cleveland Clinic!

By Adam Pick on December 20, 2012

Since launching this website 6 years ago, the patients within our community have touched, moved and inspired me with their extraordinary stories.

This time, Eric Rovin from Chicago, Illinois, has made me smile from ear-to-ear. So you know, Eric was recently diagnosed with severe aortic regurgitation resulting from a bicuspid aortic valve. As I read Eric’s story, I could relate to much of what he shared. If you have yet to visit Eric’s journal, click here.


Eric Rovin with Justine


Ready for the good news? Eric had a successful aortic valve surgery last Tuesday. Doctor Kenneth McCurry, from the Cleveland Clinic, was able to reconstruct Eric’s valve using an aortic valve repair technique. Yeah!

Ready for the unexpected, amazing, fantastic, incredible news? Two days after the surgery — while in the hospital — Eric surprised his girlfriend by getting down on one knee and proposing marriage. As Justine, Eric’s fiance, wrote in his journal:

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Surgeon Q&A: Dr. T. Sloane Guy Helps Kerrigan, Simone & Tina

By Adam Pick on December 19, 2012

Lately, my inbox has been filled with great questions from patients all over the world. For example, Kerrigan, Simone and Tina just asked me about tissue valve replacement selection, Coumadin and atrial fibrillation.

To answers these questions, I was very fortunate to connect with Dr. T. Sloane Guy, who is the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his career, Dr. Guy has performed over 2,000 cardiac procedures of which 50% included either heart valve replacement operations or heart valve repair therapy. As you can read below, Dr. Guy took the time to respond to each question from Kerrigan, Simone and Tina.


Dr. T. Sloane Guy – Heart Valve Surgeon


Question #1 – Kerrigan asks, “Have porcine aortic replacement valves fallen out of favor with bovine valves taking the lead? It seems like we are hearing about bovine these days and not porcine as the valve of choice for aortic valve replacements. What, if any, are the advantages of bovine valves over porcine valves?”

Response from Dr. T. Sloane Guy:  Modern bioprosthetic valves are made of a variety of different tissues including cow (bovine) pericardium, actual pig (porcine) valves, and horse pericardium as well.  All tissue valves are subject to degeneration over time and degenerate more quickly in younger patients which is why the American Heart Association guidelines recommend tissue valves for patients 65 years and older.  Whether one type of tissue or another is “better” is very debatable and, in my opinion, unclear.  Of course, the various companies that sell the valves promote the notion that their valve is superior.  The truth is that they all have slightly different features but in order to get approved by the FDA had to go through incredibly rigorous testing and may in fact not be as different as suggested.

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Wow! The 2012 Dallas-Leipzig Valve Conference Started Today!

By Adam Pick on December 6, 2012

Today, I was very fortunate to attend the Dallas-Leipzig Valve Conference in Dallas, Texas. While I had heard of this conference in the past, I had no idea about this size of the conference, its world renown faculty or its Transatlantic approach to education.


Dallas Leipzig Valve Conference 2012


Interestingly… Each year, the host city of the conference alternates between Leipzig, Germany and Dallas, Texas.

The goal of the conference, as  I understand it, is to bring together valve specialists — both cardiologists and surgeons — to engage in meaningful lectures, case studies, and debates about best practices for valvular therapy.

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Video Interview: A New Approach To Treating Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease with Dr. Patrick McCarthy

By Adam Pick on December 3, 2012

In July, we learned that Northwestern Memorial Hospital launched the first Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program in the country.

As I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, I was eager to learn more about this program. For that reason, I traveled to Chicago to meet with Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the Chief of Cardiac surgery at Northwestern. So you know, Dr. McCarthy is a valve surgeon guru. During his remarkable career, Dr. McCarthy has performed thousands of heart valve procedures and is one of the most recommended surgeons at our website.



For the patients and caregivers in our community who are hearing impaired, I have included a written transcript of this interview below.

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Our ‘Surgeon Spotlight’ Shines On Dr. Steven Bolling, Mitral Valve Repair Specialist

By Adam Pick on December 3, 2012

I am very excited to share that Dr. Steven Bolling has been named our current ‘Featured Heart Valve Surgeon’ at

Over the years, Dr. Bolling has been an incredible supporter of our website. In addition to contributing his time to our educational efforts, Dr. Bolling has performed successful surgery on many members of our community including Jeff Adams, Steve Griffith and Elizabeth Knowlton. So you know… During his 27-year career, Dr. Bolling has performed over 5,500 heart valve procedures.


Dr. Steven Bolling - Featured Heart Valve SurgeonDr. Steven Bolling – Heart Valve Surgeon


To help you learn more about this innovative surgeon, here is a video I recently filmed with Dr. Bolling at the Heart Valve Summit.

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My First Trip To The American Heart Association Conference!

By Adam Pick on December 3, 2012

Good news! Six years into this project, I finally made it to the American Heart Association conference.


Photo Of The American Heart Association ConferenceAdam Pick at the American Heart Association in Los Angeles


Needless to say, the event lived up to expectations. The conference was full of great lectures, amazing exhibits and a lots of people.

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“Is It Possible To Fix Atrial Fibrillation After Open Heart Surgery?” Asks Norman

By Adam Pick on November 20, 2012

I just received an interesting question from Norman, who is preparing for his second heart surgery.

In his email, Norman writes to me, “Hi Adam — Is it feasible to correct Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) which I’ve had for 5 years since my first, quintuple bypass surgery. I am due to have an aortic valve replacement, mitral valve repair, another bypass graft and Maze procedure for A-Fib . Some reports say Atrial Fibrillation cannot be fixed after 3 years? Thanks, Norman”


Atrial Fibrillation & Normal Heart Rhythm


To provide Norman an appropriate answer, I contacted Doctor Marc Gerdisch, MD, the Chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Doctor Gerdisch, who has performed over 1,500 heart valve procedures, specializes in mitral valve repair and atrial fibrillation treatment.


Dr. Marc Gerdisch


In the first part of his response, Dr. Gerdisch identified Norman’s condition and potential treatment options:

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Happy Thanksgiving From Ethan, Robyn & Me!

By Adam Pick on November 20, 2012

On behalf of Ethan (my son) and Robyn (my wife), I wanted to wish all of the patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses, cardiac centers and medical device manufacturers, a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving Card With Leaves


So you know, this is my favorite holiday. I love the food — especially the turkey, the stuffing and the pumpkin pie. I love the time with our family and friends. I love the football. I love watching movies with Ethan and Robyn. Most importantly, I love the quiet time I spend reflecting on all the goodness in our lives. Each year, this website becomes a bigger part of that goodness. That said, thank you for being a part of this extraordinary community.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends!!!

P.S. The picture above was taken during last Halloween. Ethan is still a “Buzz Lightyear” fanatic. This was the second consecutive year that Ethan was Buzz, Robyn was Jessie and I was Woody from the Toy Story movies. 🙂

Free Transcript & Video Now Available For “Advancements in Aortic Valve Surgery” Webinar

By Adam Pick on November 12, 2012

Great news!!!

Last week, over 150 patients and caregivers registered for a special online webinar titled, “Advancements in Aortic Valve Surgery”. During the event, Dr. Charles Davidson and Dr. Chris Malaisrie discussed transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), a new technology for aortic valve replacement that requires no incision to the patient’s sternum.


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Top 5 Questions About Wednesday’s Webinar For Patients

By Adam Pick on November 5, 2012

This Wednesday, November 7th, I am going to host a live, online webinar titled, “Advancements in Aortic Valve Surgery”with Dr. Davidson and Dr. Malaisrie from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Already, over 100 patients have registered for this webinar! Given the exciting topic of this educational event, I have received several questions about the webinar from our community. To help you learn more, I have provided below the top five questions about this webinar below.


Creative For Webinar Announcement


1. Is The Webinar Free To Attend?

Yes. The webinar is free for all attendees.


2. Can I Still Register For The Webinar?

Yes. Registration is still available. To register, click here.

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Three Years After Aortic Valve Replacement, Leo Transforms Into A “Sprint” Triathlete

By Adam Pick on November 2, 2012

There’s nothing better than opening an email and reading a patient success story.

That said, here’s a great update from Leo Hernandez. As you might recall, I first posted about Leo in 2009 after his bicuspid aortic valve was replaced Doctor Richard Shemin, MD at UCLA in Los Angeles. In his email, Leo writes to me:


Leo Hernandez - BAV Patient And Half-Marathon RunnerLeo Hernandez – Aortic Valve Replacement Patient


Dear Adam,

Thanks for using my picture with Dr. Shemin on your October 19 issue of your newsletter. To let you know, it’s been now 3 years and 9 months since my aortic valve replacement by Dr. Richard Shemin on January 6, 2009.

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