Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 38

“Should I Go With The Robot For My Mitral Valve Repair?” Asks Doug

By Adam Pick on February 4, 2012

Doug sent me a great question about his options for mitral valve repair surgery. In his email, Doug wrote, “I have severe mitral regurgitation and I need surgery.  I’m considering two surgeons…  One surgeon uses the robot and the other surgeon does not.  Which is a better choice for me?”

To provide Doug an expert opinion, I met with Dr. Steven Bolling, the Director of the Mitral Valve Program at the University of Michigan. During our discussion, Dr. Bolling, who has performed over 3,800 mitral valve operations, offered great insight and research for Doug to consider. Here are the video highlights from our chat.


Continue reading this post »

A Must Read… “Heart 411” By Dr. Gillinov & Dr. Nissen

By Adam Pick on February 3, 2012

Since launching this blog 5 years ago, I have only recommended one book about cardiac care.

Today, I am thrilled to increase my book recommendations by 100% with an emphatic endorsement of “Heart 411” by Dr. Marc Gillinov and Dr. Steven Nissen. This 550-page guide to heart health is packed with helpful facts, practical guidance and patient stories that will definitely help the 82 million Americans that are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.


Heart 411 Book By Dr. Marc Gillinov & Dr. Steven Nissen


What I enjoyed most about the book was the pace at which Dr. Marc Gillinov and Dr. Steven Nissen intertwined research, evidence and data along with their own clinical experiences that stretch across 50 years of medical practice and 10,000 patients. To learn more about Dr. Gillinov, click here.

Continue reading this post »

Today, My Thoughts Are With Kelly & Mitch

By Adam Pick on February 2, 2012

Over the past few months, many patients and caregivers in our community have been fortunate to meet Kelly Nugent and Mitch Friedman at Heart Valve Journals, our social network.

As Kelly and Mitch prepared for heart valve surgery due to aortic valve regurgitation and mitral valve regurgitation, they openly shared their experiences, thoughts, feelings and emotions about their pursuit of healthy hearts.


Kelly & Mitch - Heart Surgery Patients Prepare For Surgery

Continue reading this post »

Tech Update: SAPIEN Aortic Valve Replacement Shines At S.T.S.

By Adam Pick on February 1, 2012

Earlier this week, the 48th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons Meeting (STS) was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the meeting, cardiac surgeons from around the world gather to discuss the latest strategies for optimal cardiac treatment — including heart valve repair and heart valve replacement procedures.

As our patient and caregiver community is fascinated by medical advances impacting heart valve surgery, I thought you might be interested to learn about a new study released at STS specific to the SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement device. The SAPIEN, which is manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences, is positioned in the heart using a minimally invasive catheter.



Here are the most recent findings about the SAPIEN’s clinical performance in 822 “inoperable patients” who suffered from severe aortic valve stenosis and received this aortic valve replacement device transapically — through the ribs:

Continue reading this post »

“Do Asymptomatic Patients Really Need Heart Valve Surgery?” with Dr. Richard Lee

By Adam Pick on January 27, 2012

Following our last post about watchful waiting for patients with moderate heart valve disease, I received several emails from asymptomatic patients. While each email was unique, most patients were curious to know if patients without symptoms should undergo heart valve repair and heart valve replacement procedures — for conditions including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation.

Luckily, during my recent tour of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, I was fortunate to discuss this topic with Dr. Richard Lee, an associate professor of cardiac surgery. The video below contains the highlights of our discussion. (For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of this video below.)



Thanks to Dr. Richard Lee for taking the time to share his clinical expertise with our community. To learn more about Dr. Lee, please click here.

Continue reading this post »

“If I Have Moderate Aortic Stenosis, Why Should I Wait To Have Valve Replacement Surgery?” Asks Paul

By Adam Pick on January 25, 2012

I just had a very interesting conversation with Paul about the progression of aortic stenosis and the timing of heart valve replacement surgery.

During our chat, Paul asked, “Adam – I am 71 and have been diagnosed with aortic stenosis for over 10 years now. Recently, the disease progressed from mild to moderate. My cardiologist does not believe surgery is needed yet. I don’t want the stenosis to become ‘severe’ knowing the damage it can cause. Why am I being told to wait for surgery? Thanks, Paul”


Aortic Stenosis Watchful Waiting


Paul asked a great question. That said, I wanted to provide Paul a great answer.

Continue reading this post »

Meet Mitch, Our Newest “Featured Patient” At Heart Valve Journals

By Adam Pick on January 23, 2012

I’m amazed by how fast Heart Valve Journals, our social network for patients and caregivers, continues to grow. I’m also very touched by the stories shared within this caring community.

As you may have seen, we always select one patient to be our “Featured Patient” within the community. That said, I would like to introduce you to Mitch Friedman, our current “Featured Patient”.



I could tell you all about Mitch and his upcoming heart valve surgery planned for February 2, 2012 . Instead, I’ll simply encourage you to click this link to learn about Mitch’s pursuit of a healthy heart.

Continue reading this post »

Dr. Paul Stelzer Performs 500th Ross Procedure On Mark!

By Adam Pick on January 11, 2012

After I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and regurgitation, I chose the Ross Procedure for my heart valve replacement surgery. While this approach to aortic valve replacement is more complex, I found the benefits of this procedure outweighed the risks. (To learn more about the Ross Procedure, click here.)

Since launching this website, I have become familiar with a handful of surgeons who are considered Ross Procedure gurus. In particular, Dr. Paul Stelzer, from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, is widely regarded as one of the most experienced Ross Procedure surgeons in the United States.


Dr. Paul Stelzer In The Operating Room


Continue reading this post »

Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. Marc Gillinov Receives Praise Overload From Patients, Caregivers & Peers

By Adam Pick on January 4, 2012

During my research for my book and this website, I have been fortunate to meet several incredible surgeons. Dr. Marc Gillinov is one such surgeon.

I first heard the name “Dr. Marc Gillinov” from his former patients. One after the other, my inbox filled up with glowing testimonials for Dr. Gillinov. His patients used words like friendly, excellent, caring and outstanding to describe the Judith Dion Pyle Chair in Heart Valve Research at The Cleveland Clinic.


Patient Photo Collage Of Dr. Marc Gillinov, MD


Continue reading this post »

Special Post: Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2011!

By Adam Pick on December 28, 2011

During the past twelve months, this global community of patients and caregivers actively discussed many topics that have impacted our heart valve surgery experiences. As the year winds down, I thought it might be helpful to review all of these posts and highlight the top 10 stories that garnered the most attention during 2011.

Top 10 List Icon

So, without further ado, here are your “Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2011”:


10. Much of our ongoing discussions focus on the proper management of patient expectations before, during and after surgery. To to help Denise prepare for her mitral valve repair surgery, we answered her question, “Do All Patients Get A Cardiac Catheterization Prior To Heart Valve Surgery?”. With over 25 comments from our community, this post was very helpful to Denise and many other patients preparing for surgery.



9. An interesting question from Alice about the recovery from heart valve surgery also generated a significant amount of traffic. In “What Are Those BIG Heart Shape Pillows Used For?”, Dr. Eric Roselli offered some clinical insights about these humongous, red pillows given to patients after surgery.


Patients With Red Pillows


Continue reading this post »

Six Years Later… My Ticker Keeps Tickin’

By Adam Pick on December 21, 2011

Interestingly… The importance of today’s date escaped me until a few minutes ago.

That is when I saw “December 21” on my calendar. I then eased my shoulders, took a deep breath and smiled. So you know, six years ago, at this exact moment, my heart valve surgery had just begun.


Cup Cake Lit For Sixth Birthday Or Anniversary


Continue reading this post »

Transcatheter Heart Valve Technologies Continue To Make Headlines

By Adam Pick on December 20, 2011

Like many of you, I’m fascinated by the possibilities of medical technology.

Specific to heart valve treatment, I continue to talk with many patients, caregivers, physicians and industry experts about catheter-based technologies for heart valve repair and heart valve replacement. Recently, the frequency of those conversations has increased. So, to make sure you are aware of the latest news about transcatheter valve devices, here are some interesting updates.

  • St. Jude Medical announced the first implant of the Portico aortic valve implant via catheter in its European clinical trial. This trial will support St. Jude’s effort to win CE Mark approval for commercial use in Europe. The trial is specifically designed for patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrow heart valve) who are considered too high risk for traditional open heart valve replacement through the sternum or ribs.


Medical Device Picture Of Portic Heart Valve Replacement
Portico Aortic Valve Replacement (St. Jude Medical)


Continue reading this post »

“Happy Holidays!” From Robyn, Ethan and Me

By Adam Pick on December 20, 2011

As the year winds down, I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very happy holidays!

I also wanted to thank you for your ongoing participation in this unique community. This has been an incredible year for this project. So you know, this website had over one million visits during 2011. Needless to say, that is a clear testament to the empowering ways in which we continue to help each other through the experience of heart valve surgery.


Happy Holidays Card For 2011


On behalf of Robyn, my wife, and Ethan, my son, “Happy Holidays!” and “Happy New Year!”

Keep on tickin’ in 2012!

After Aortic Valve Replacement, Sylvia Continues On As “Mrs. Claus”

By Adam Pick on December 15, 2011

Receiving updates from former patients is a great way to start the day. That said, I just heard from Sylvia Woolworth. You might recall that Sylvia, 76, had aortic valve replacement two years ago. (To learn more about aortic valve replacement, click here.)

As you can read in her last update, Sylvia took several steps to physically and mentally prepare for her heart valve surgery. Recently, I learned that Sylvia, who lives in New Jersey, has a fun tradition during the winter holidays… Sylvia takes on the fun role of playing “Mrs. Claus” at holiday events.


Sylvia “Mrs. Claus” Woolworth


Continue reading this post »

Today, My Thoughts Are With Sarah & Steve

By Adam Pick on December 14, 2011

I just spent some time at Heart Valve Journals, our social network for patients and caregivers going through heart valve surgery.

While there, I noticed that Sarah Harnett, from Michigan, and Steve Regouby, from Oklahoma, are getting their heart valves fixed today.


Steve Regouby (Aortic Stenosis) & Sarah Harnett (Mitral Valve Prolapse)


As Sarah wrote in her journal this morning, “Shortly I’ll leave for the hospital. Thanks for so many for the encouraging words on the blog and in cards, on the phone and in person.”

Continue reading this post »

“Can A Patient With Three Leaking Heart Valves Still Have A Healthy Heart?” Asks Janelle

By Adam Pick on December 12, 2011

As a double heart valve surgery patient, I found Janelle’s recent question very interesting.

She wrote, “Hi Adam – Almost everything I read on the internet deals with a singular leaking heart valve.  At age 64, I was just diagnosed with three valves that are leaking: the aortic valve, the mitral valve and tricuspid valve.  I have shortness of breath and I am also lightheaded at times.  I am curious to know, what are the chances that someone with three leaking valves can still have a healthy heart?”

To get an expert opinion for Janelle, I recently discussed this topic with Doctor Patrick McCarthy, the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Here are the highlights from our discussion.



Continue reading this post »

“Is It Possible To Have A Bicuspid Aortic Valve Repaired With A Dilated Aorta?” With Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie

By Adam Pick on December 7, 2011

I recently received a great question about bicuspid aortic valve repair. The patient wrote to me, “Adam – I have a bicuspid aortic valve and a dilated aorta.  I think I need an aortic valve replacement and an aortic root replacement.  I’m curious.  Is it possible to get a bicuspid aortic valve repair instead of having it replaced?”

During my recent tour of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, I was fortunate to ask this exact question to Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie, a cardiac surgeon who specializes in aortic valve treatment. Here are the highlights of our discussion. (For those patients and caregivers in our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript below.)



Continue reading this post »

Web Chat Announcement: “Stress, Depression & Heart Disease” with Dr. Leo Pozuelo

By Adam Pick on December 7, 2011

Hey everybody,

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!

“What Are The Different Kinds Of Minimally Invasive Surgery For Aortic Valve Replacement?” Asks Jim

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.

Continue reading this post »

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.

Continue reading this post »

Newest Community Post

karsten says, "working on getting a second opinion if a"
Read more

Richard says, "Shadows cousin not loving her crate"
Read more

Darlene says, "I would like to connect with Ginny"
Read more

Find Heart Valve Surgeons

Search 1,500 patient-recommended surgeons