Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 39

Trivia Time: Do 20% Of Healthy, Middle-Age Men Have Heart Murmurs?

By Adam Pick on May 30, 2012

I just came across an interesting study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine about men and heart murmurs.

According to Dr. Johan Bodegard, a physician at the Oslo University Hospital in Norway, more than 20% of middle-age men have a heart murmur. This low-grade systolic murmur, over time, creates a five times risk of future aortic valve replacement. The study evaluated over 2,000 men, aged 40 to 49, during a 35-year time frame.

A key finding of the study suggested that men with moderate valve disease were 89X more likely to have AVR and a 1.5X risk of death due to heart disease. To learn more about heart murmurs, click here.

This is, yet again, another good reason to actively monitor your valvular defect with regular echocardiogram check-ups.

Keep on tickin!

Community Question: “When Will The ‘Voice of Doubt’ Go Away?” Asks Stephanie

By Adam Pick on May 23, 2012

Earlier today, I spent some time at Heart Valve Journals, our online community. While there, I read an interesting question posted by Stephanie Cole, who had mitral valve replacement surgery on March 16, 2012.

In her journal, Stephanie asked, “When does that little, tiny ‘Voice Of Doubt’ go away? Is my valve still intact? Is my heart still shrinking? I love the freedom to do ‘anything’ but what if the doc’s were wrong? I wish I could have monthly echo’s for reassurance.”



Continue reading this post »

“Is Heart Valve Leakage Common After Valve Repair Surgery?” Asks Valerie

By Adam Pick on May 22, 2012

Valerie sent me an interesting question about leaky valves after heart valve repair surgery.

Her email reads, “Hi Adam – I had my mitral valve and tricuspid valve repaired in October 2011. I recently had an echocardiogram done. The echo showed that both valves are leaking (mildly).  I went to my cardiologist and the surgeon to discuss this. They both told me there was “nothing to worry about”.  I am worried!  I cannot seem to get a straight answer. Is this common to have leakage after a repair with an annuloplasty ring?  I would appreciate any information you have on this situation of a mild leak after a repair. Thank you, Valerie”


Mitral Valve With Regurgitation
Leaking Mitral Valve Diagram


As I’ve received this question twice in the last week, I wanted to provide Valerie (and you) an expert response, so I contacted Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. During his thirty-year career, Dr. McCarthy has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures of which more than 4,000 included valvular treatment.

Continue reading this post »

Enhanced Website Feature: Your Patient Success Stories!

By Adam Pick on May 21, 2012

Over the years, I’ve received hundreds of success stories from patients and caregivers within our community.

With the relaunch of our website, I wanted to create a special place to feature your inspirational stories and your smiling faces. For that reason, I just built a new ‘Patient Success Stories’ section of the website. Today, you will see 16 patient success stories featured. However, this number will quickly increase as I go back through all the wonderful stories previously posted in the blog and our Heart Valve Journals community.


Patient Success Stories For Heart Valve Surgery

If you have a story you would like to share, please send me your story along with a picture or two. My email is!

Thanks again to everybody who has shared their experiences within our community!

Keep on tickin!

Meet Karen Campo, Our “Featured Patient” at Heart Valve Journals

By Adam Pick on May 19, 2012

Hi everybody,

I wanted to take a quick moment to introduce you to Karen Campo, the new featured patient at our Heart Valve Journals Community. Unlike many patients who monitor their heart valve disease for years, Karen is on the “Fast Track” to heart valve surgery as she was recently diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation.


Karen Campo With Son - Our Featured Patient
Karen with her son Matty


Karen’s attitude warrants attention. She’s very positive and upbeat. As she writes in her journal, “This has all happened really fast, but I am trying to learn as much as I can, have a positive outlook and look to family and friends for support.”

Keep on tickin’ Karen!

My thoughts and prayers are with you!

In Memory of Cindy Pastrano, Wife and Mother

By Adam Pick on May 18, 2012

I am very, very, very sad to report that Cindy Pastrano, a fellow patient from San Antonio, Texas, recently passed away.

Since joining our community, I had become familiar with Cindy as she shared her experiences with us at her journal. Given her energetic attitude, funny remarks (including her distaste for the dentist), and post-operative status, I was shocked to learn of her passing.


In Memory Of Cindy

At her journal, Cindy’s sister-in-law, Lori, provided this note:


We have some very sad news to share. As you might have known, Cindy was expected to be discharged yesterday. However, she suffered some complications. At approximately 11:30 pm Thursday night, it appears she suffered a severe heart attack and was in critical condition in ICU. She under went 2 surgeries and her condition never improved. At 12:15 am today, while surrounded by her family, Cindy left us to be with her Lord. Love never dies and her love will live on in our hearts. We will miss her very much.


If you would like to leave a message in Cindy’s memory, please click here.

Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers are with Cindy, her husband Peter, Cory, Sean and Eileen (her children), her family and friends.

Mitralign Gets $35 Million For Less Invasive Mitral Regurgitation Treatment

By Adam Pick on May 18, 2012

As we continue to track the new technologies impacting heart valve treatment, I thought you might like to know about an interesting treatment method for mitral regurgitation. The Mitralign device enables physicians to repair a mitral valve using a catheter-based procedure instead of an incision to the sternum or ribs.


Logo Of Mitralign Company


Unlike the Mitraclip, another transcatheter technology which clips the mitral valve leaflets together to reduce regurgitation, the Mitralign system repairs a dilated mitral valve by reducing the size of the annulus which moves the leaflets closer together. The result is a decrease in mitral insufficiency.

Mitralign is currently conducting clinical studies. Ultimately, its recent $35 million financing, will be used to secure a European CE Mark that will enable Mitralign to market the device overseas. As you may be aware, this approach is common for companies with new technologies that eventually apply for FDA approval here in the United States.

As we continue to learn more about this and other exciting technologies, I’ll continue to feature them here in this blog.

Keep on tickin!

Special Announcement: The Relaunch of!

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2012

Dear Patients, Caregivers & Friends –

In 2006, we started this website with a goal to help one fellow patient through heart valve surgery. Over time, that mission has expanded to educate and empower all patients and their caregivers.

To accomplish that mission, our website has transformed to meet the needs of our growing community. That transformation continues today with the internal relaunch of To introduce everybody to the new platform, we created this introductory video.



While we are excited about the 50+ new features and functions of this upgraded platform, we know there is a lot more work to do.

Still, in this moment, I want to thank you for being a part of this extraordinary community. Your participation and your support of this project is making a significant difference in our collective pursuit of healthy hearts.

Over the next two weeks, we will highlight the new features of this website. If you like, you can subscribe to this blog (it’s free) to get the latest updates. Also, if you have any additional ideas or constructive criticism to improve this website, please let me know.

Again, thanks so much for your support!

Keep on tickin!

The New ‘Valve Clinic Directory’ Section Of Our Website!

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2012

Over the past year, I have spoke with many of you about the different ways in which we could improve this website. Many of the comments I received went something like this…

  • “It would be great if there was a section about the hospitals.”
  • “Why don’t you have clinic profiles like you have surgeon profiles?”
  • “It’s great that you have educational materials about heart valve disease and treatment. It also helps that you have information about the surgeons. But, what about the hospitals? You should connect the dots… Build a section of the website all about the cardiac centers.”

As many of you know, I really appreciate your feedback. The more I thought about your comments, the more I became inspired to take action. That said, I’m very excited to introduce you to our new Heart Valve Clinics section.


Heart Valve Clinic Section Of Website
The New Cardiac Clinics Section of


This section of the website features the clinics that specialize in heart valve treatment. To start, we are incredibly lucky to be featuring several sponsors including Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Sequoia Heart Hospital, Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute and USC. Coming soon, we will also feature Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Screenshot Of Cleveland Clinic Heart Valve Clinic Microsite
The New Cardiac Clinic Profile Application (Cleveland Clinic)


Our new ‘Clinic Profile Application’ enables you to:

  • Go on a virtual tour of the cardiac clinics (using either pictures or a video)
  • Learn about the hospitals
  • Meet surgeons that specialize in valve therapy
  • See patient success stories
  • Download surgical outcomes (if available)
  • Contact the clinic coordinators
  • Get additional information including insurance, external links, location, maps, etc.

Continue reading this post »

The ‘Learning Center’ Gets A Face-Lift

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2012

Another major enhancement to our relaunched website is the new Learning Center.

To further help patients and caregivers learn about heart valve disease, surgeons, cardiac clinics, treatment options and recovery, we segmented the information by category. The picture below should help illustrate this new approach.


The Heart Valve Surgery Learning Center

While there is a much more content to upload to the Learning Center, I am hopeful this improved feature will further support you from diagnosis through recovery.

To access the Learning Center, you will find it in either the Patient Resources or Caregiver Resources sections of the website.

Keep on tickin!

Find An Annoying Bug? Please Let Me Know!

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.


Computer Bugs On Laptop


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 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!

Valve Clinic Tour: Beyond The #1 Ranking, Cleveland Clinic Places Patients First

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.


Photo Collage Of The Cleveland Clinic

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.

Continue reading this post »

Woo-Hoo! New Website Features Are Almost Here!

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!

Logo Of

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

Keep on tickin!

Patient Update: Olivia Is Born! Congratulations Sara & Matt!

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.

Continue reading this post »

I’m Going To The Cleveland Clinc… Wanna Meet?

By Adam Pick on March 30, 2012

Hey everybody!

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!

“Why Are Pig Valve Replacements Still Used?” Asks Jim

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.

Continue reading this post »

Tech Update: Encouraging Data For Edwards’ SAPIEN Aortic Valve Replacement

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.


SAPIEN Heart Valve With Features & FDA Seal


In the latest study results:

Continue reading this post »

“What About Mitral Valve Replacements Using A Catheter?” Asks Denny

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”


Two Different Types Of SAPIEN Valve
Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement Device


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In Florida, Heart Valve Surgery Buddies Gather To Celebrate Life

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.


Heart Valve Journals Reunion
Fran, Duane, Peter, Peggy, Susan, Richard, Peter, Cheryl


Continue reading this post »

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Heart Valve Webchat With Dr. Lars Svensson & Dr. Murat Tuzcu Tomorrow!

By Adam Pick on March 14, 2012

Hey everybody,

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!

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