Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 41

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.


SAPIEN Valve With FDA Seal
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.

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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.



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“What Are My Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery Risks?” Asks Sharon

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”


Female Patient In Gown


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Heart Valve Summit Video #1: Cardiologists & Surgeons Unite To Advance Valvular Therapy!

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.



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Today, My Thoughts Are With Bill, Sherry & Terri

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!

“Why Is My Husband Gaining Weight From Fluids After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Joanie

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.

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True or False: Cardiac Surgeons Perform At Least 37 Mitral Valve Repair Surgeries Each Year

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?

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Technology Update: The ValveXchange Has Its First Implant!

By Adam Pick on October 9, 2011

Needless to say, this is a very exciting time in the development of heart valve therapies. In my opinion, this segment of cardiac care just became even more exciting as ValveXchange reported the first-in-man (FIM) implant of its two-part, heart valve replacement system.

“What is a two-part heart valve replacement system?” you might be wondering.


Diagram of ValveXchange Technology


As shown above, the first part of the surgical system is the permanent implant of the Vitality base within the valve.

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Surgeon Spotlight: With Over 4,000 Heart Valve Procedures Complete, Dr. Patrick McCarthy Is Celebrated By His Patients

By Adam Pick on October 6, 2011

It is an honor to shine our surgeon spotlight on Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

During his 30-year career, which includes training and clinical work at Stanford University, The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, Doctor Patrick McCarthy has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures including 4,000 operations involving heart valve treatment. Here is a quick video about Dr. McCarthy’s ongoing pursuit of healthy hearts.



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JenaValve Gets CE Mark For TAVI Device In Europe

By Adam Pick on October 5, 2011

As patients in the United States continue to wait for FDA approval of transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices, another TAVI technology just received a CE mark for commercial use in Europe.


Jena TAVI - Aortic Valve Replacement Via Catheter
JenaValve TAVI – Aortic Valve Replacement Via Catheter


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“Any Questions For The World’s Leading Heart Valve Specialists?” Asks Adam

By Adam Pick on September 28, 2011

Great news everybody!

I am attending the Heart Valve Summit in Chicago. While there, I will have a special opportunity to ask your questions directly to valvular specialists including Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Adams, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Martin, Dr. Bolling, Dr. Accola and more. Their responses will be filmed and posted at this blog.

Leading Heart Valve Surgeons


So… If you have a question — about anything related to heart valve disorders, symptoms, surgical approaches or valve replacement devices — please  click the “ASK YOUR QUESTION” button above, email me directly or scroll down to leave a comment. I will do my best to get your questions answered as soon as possible.

Keep on tickin!


Our Heart Valve Surgery Video Playbacks Jump Over 19,023!

By Adam Pick on September 26, 2011

The Internet never ceases to amaze me…

We recently launched a new section of this website that contains our heart valve surgery videos. I just learned that, in a very short time, the number of playbacks has soared to over 19,000 views. If you were unaware of these videos, they feature your questions which are asked directly to leading heart valve surgeons.


Filming A Video With Doctors At Conference
Dr. Shemin and Adam Answer Your Questions At STS


While I’m terrible in front of a camera, the information shared through these videos is incredible. Thanks to all the surgeons — including Dr. Adams, Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Cohn, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Gerdisch, Dr. Smith, Dr. Shemin, Dr. Stewart, Dr. Accola, Dr. Khan, Dr. Starnes, Dr. Svensson, etc. — for taking the time to help develop these videos.

Keep on tickin!

Video: “Does A Bicuspid Aortic Valve Become Tricuspid During Heart Valve Repair Surgery?” Asks Sato

By Adam Pick on September 22, 2011

Sato sent me a very interesting question about bicuspid aortic valve repair. He writes, “Hi Adam – I’m 61. I’ve been diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve and severe regurgitation. I’ve been told a repair is possible. During surgery, does the bicuspid aortic valve become a tricuspid valve?”

While at the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons conference, I was able to ask Sato’s question to Dr. Lars Svensson, MD, the Director of the Aorta Program at The Cleveland Clinic. As you may know, Dr. Svensson, is highly regarded for his work with bicuspid aortic valves.



Thanks to Sato for his question and a special thanks to Dr. Lars Svensson for sharing his clinical research with our community. To learn more about Dr. Svensson and his patients, please click here.

For those of you who are hearing impaired, I have provided a transcript of this interview below…

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Video: “Besides Sternum Wires, What Other Technologies Can Help The Chest Heal?” Asks Jane

By Adam Pick on September 20, 2011

As a follow-up to our recent discussion about chest pain and sternum wires, Jane sent me a great question about incision closure techniques. She writes, “Hi Adam – I’ve read good and bad things about the use of wires to close the sternum.  Are there any other technologies used to help the chest heal? Thanks, Jane”

Luckily, I was able to ask this exact question to Dr. Jai Raman, the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, Illinois. I thought you might like to see the interview highlights from our discussion about a new technology called sternal plating.



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My Thoughts Are With Jim, Sara & Chris…

By Adam Pick on September 19, 2011

As Jim, Sara & Chris prepare for heart valve surgery this week, I wanted them to know that my thoughts are with them and their families.



To learn about their stories, please visit their Heart Valve Journals by clicking the links below:

Keep on tickin’ Jim, Sara & Chris!

Patient Update: Dave Hooper Graduates From Cardiac Rehab!

By Adam Pick on September 16, 2011

As many of you know, I encourage all patients to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program following heart valve surgery. Research shows that the physical and emotional benefits for patients attending post-operative cardiac rehab classes are significant but often under-utilized.

That said, here is a great update from Dave Hooper. (You might recall that I featured Dave in a prior post following his aortic valve replacement surgery.)


Patients At Cardiac Rehabiliation Classes
Dave Hooper At Cardiac Rehab

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Trivia: What Is The Most Common Heart Valve Defect?

By Adam Pick on September 16, 2011

Time for your heart valve trivia of the day… Here’s the question:


Trivia Question Image


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Our Heart Valve Surgeon Locator Grows 100% In 3 Months!

By Adam Pick on September 15, 2011

Great news everybody!

Thanks to your support… Our free online surgeon directory has grown over 100% in the past three months. Right now, we have 1,250+ recommendations provided by former heart valve surgery patients. If you have yet to visit the Heart Valve Surgeon Finder, simply click here.


Heart Valve Surgeon Finder


So you know, our community of patients and caregivers created this tool eighteen months ago to help future patients find trusted surgeons quickly. Again, thanks so much for your help advancing this cause. As we all know, finding the “right” surgeon to perform your surgery is critical. I know there is a lot more work to be done… But, I’m hopeful this tool is easing that process.

Keep on tickin!

With Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Sara Is Ready To Become A… Mommy

By Adam Pick on September 14, 2011

Lately, there have been a lot of patient comments and questions posted about pregnancy and heart valve disease. To extend this discussion, I wanted to share with you a fantastic email I just received from Sara Bloomfield. Sara writes to me:


Sara & Matt Bloomfield (Chicago, Illinois)


I have a bicuspid aortic valve, dilated aortic root, and coarctation of the descending aorta. Like many other women with valve conditions that are hoping to have children, pregnancy has been an ongoing topic with my cardiologist throughout my life. The conversation was left open after each visit as it would depend on the state of my heart at the time I was ready to have a baby.  After getting married last year, my husband and I were ready to address this.  Based on the function of my valve and root, I am considered to be in the “grey zone” for pregnancy.

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“What Are The Risks Of Mini-Sternotomy Compared To A Full Sternotomy?” Asks Jenny

By Adam Pick on September 6, 2011

Jenny just sent me a very interesting question about surgical approaches for heart valve repair. She writes, “Dear Adam – I was just diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation. I have regular degenerative mitral valve prolapse. An annuloplasty valve ring has been recommended as well. I’m thinking of having a mini-sternotomy and wondering what the risks are compared to a full sternotomy? Are there any other approaches that might be advantageous for me? Thanks, Jenny”


Chest With A Mini-Sternotomy Scar
Mini-Sternotomy For Heart Valve Surgery


To provide Jenny with an expert opinion, I contacted Dr. Harold Roberts, a leading heart valve surgeon, from WVU Medicine in West Virginia.


Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Harold Roberts
Dr. Harold Roberts – Heart Valve Surgeon


So you know, during his 25+ year career, Dr. Roberts has performed over 3,500 heart valve procedures. Here is Dr. Roberts’ response to Jenny’s question:

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