By Adam Pick on March 12, 2010
I just wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to Beverly Simmons of Fullerton, California, as she continues her early recovery at St. Jude’s hospital.
For those of you who have not visited Bev’s Heart Valve Journal yet, she had aortic valve replacement – using a pig (porcine) valve – on February 16, 2010. (Bev suffered from aortic stenosis.)
Beverly Simmons, 83, Heart Valve Replacement Patient
Although Bev, who celebrated her 83rd birthday in the hospital, recently received a “clean bill of health” from her doctors, the past few weeks have been filled with several ups and downs – including an emergency room visit days after her surgery.
That said, thanks to all of you who have posted over 275 comments in Bev’s Guestbook. I know she appreciates reading your words of encouragement and love.
Keep on tickin’ Bev!
By Adam Pick on March 10, 2010
Over the years, I have interacted with many patients that suffer from atrial fibrillation and heart valve diseases including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation. To learn more about atrial fibrillation and heart valve disease, I contacted Dr. Niv Ad, a leading cardiac surgeon at White Oak Medical Center in Takoma Park. Here are the highlights from our very interesting discussion:
Adam: Thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today. I’d like to ask you a couple questions about atrial fibrillation and heart valve disorders.
Dr. Niv Ad: Thanks Adam for raising awareness to this very important topic.
By Adam Pick on March 10, 2010
As many of you know, this is a very exciting time for the heart valve surgery community given the rapid advance of medical technologies used to treat diseases including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation.
Last week, St. Jude Medical, one of the leading heart valve manufacturers, cleared a significant hurdle for the commercial release of its new Trifecta heart valve replacement. In case you missed it, St. Jude announced that its Trifecta valve received CE mark approval for the device within the European Union. (The device is still in clinical trials here in the United States.)
Trifecta Heart Valve (Source: Medgadget)
By Adam Pick on March 10, 2010
Are you ready for another interesting “True / False” trivia question about heart valve surgery? Okay… Is this statement true or false?
One of the first heart-lung machines used in cardiac surgery, the Dewall-Lillehei machine, cost only $15 to manufacture.
For the answer, please scroll below the picture of Richard Dewall and his artificial heart-lung machine (1955).
With about $15 worth of odds and ends from their laboratory — including tubing made for carrying beer — two University of Minnesota medical legends, Richard Dewall and Walt Lillehei, ended the era when a serious heart defect meant a drastically shortened life.
By Adam Pick on March 3, 2010
I just received a very, very, very educational and inspirational story from Kevin Haines about stroke, heart valve replacement, rehab, Coumadin and cardiac depression. That said, I thought you might enjoy it…
I have written you in the past but wanted to give you a post-op update. My aortic valve was replaced in October 2008 with a St. Jude mechanical valve. I also had a root repair completed during surgery. I was 38 years old when we discovered calcified aortic valve leaflets. So you know, a piece of calcium broke free and traveled to my brain causing a stroke.
Since the stroke and surgery, I continue to make progress towards a healthy life. I have come back from the procedure very strong. I credit my recovery to my support group (especially my wife), my heart and stroke teams at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and my rehab nurses who helped me through 26 cardiac rehab sessions. Your book, blog, and the readers comments have also been a huge help.
By Adam Pick on February 28, 2010
Earlier this month, Dr. A. Marc Gillinov – one of the leading heart valve surgeons from The Cleveland Clinic – held an exclusive, online chat with our patient and caregiver community. Thanks to your interactive participation, this event was an overwhelming success!!!
Today, I am excited to announce that the written transcript of Dr. Gillinov’s chat, “Advancements In Heart Valve Surgery”, is now available for free download. Simply click here to download the 27-page transcript.
Thanks again to The Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Gillinov and, of course, all of the patients and caregivers who attended the event and submitted questions.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on February 26, 2010
There is nothing better than waking up, enjoying a cup of coffee, turning on the computer and finding a patient success story in my inbox.
Today, I received a patient success story all the way from Portugal. It’s about Filomeno Faustino’s recent aortic valve replacement with a Carbomedics Top Hat mechanical device. Here is what Filomeno wrote to me:
By Adam Pick on February 25, 2010
Since launching this website in 2006, our community has grown way, way, way beyond my initial expectation.
As a result, several new features have been created to help patients and caregivers through the heart valve surgery process. Two recently released services include the Heart Valve Surgeon Database and Heart Valve Journals.
To help you quickly access these tools, I just acquired some easy-to-remember domain names, also known as URLs. That said, here they are:
- www.HeartValveBook.com – This domain name leads to information about my book.
- www.HeartValveBlog.com – This URL takes you straight to this blog.
- www.HeartValveSurgeons.com – This domain name takes you to our heart valve surgeon directory with over 500 surgeon profiles.
- www.HeartValveJournals.com – This URL takes you to our social network that connects patients and caregivers all over the world.
I hope these new domain names help you remember and visit the different services available at this website.
As always… Thanks to all of you who emailed me with this request!!!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on February 23, 2010
Not too long ago, I received a very special email from Dr. Paul Massimiano of Inova Health Systems in Falls Church, Virginia. In the email, Dr. Massimiano informed me that Inova holds an annual patient reunion to (i) share their latest research and (ii) show Inova’s appreciation for their patients, families and friends.
As I read the note, my eyebrows jumped to the top of my forehead. I thought, “That is fannnnnnn-tas-tic! I’ve never heard of anything like this before… A patient conference? Great for Inova! Great for its patients!”
Then, to my surprise, Dr. Massimiano asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the event.
Dr. Paul Massimiano, Adam Pick, Dr. Niv Ad & Dr. John Glick
By Adam Pick on February 21, 2010
One of the primary exams used to detect heart valve disease involves the stethoscope.
While this diagnostic device, invented by Rene Laennec in 1816, is not as technologically advanced as 3D-MTEE imaging, stethoscopes can help cardiologists and surgeons quickly identify variable forms of heart valve disease.
When I was diagnosed with severe heart valve disease, I was curious. So, I located three audio files, posted by Dr. Solanki, which contain the sounds of hearts beating with (i) normal heart valves, (ii) aortic valve stenosis and (iii) mitral valve regurgitation. If you are interested, I have provided these audio clips below.
First, here is the sound of a normal heartbeat. You can hear the traditional “lub-dub” as the four heart valves open and close.
By Adam Pick on February 19, 2010
I just received an interesting question from Bill about heart valve replacement surgery and cardiac rehabilitation programs.
Bill writes, “Hi Adam – I had my aortic valve replaced and the aortic root repaired. After leaving the hospital, I slept in a recliner for three weeks, had frequent dizzy spells, back spasms and felt like I was in a fog. I was told by the doctors the dizzy spells and the fog was the anesthesia. After the third week, the fog lifted and I was able to walk at a brisk pace for 4 miles. Life was looking and I was feeling good. Then the big disappointment, I over did it! Back to the dizzy spells, back spasms and fatigue. It took me four weeks to recover. I’m in my 6th week after surgery and wondering when Cardiac Rehab should start? Thanks! Bill Weeks”
By Adam Pick on February 17, 2010
Life is fantastic mixture of good days, tough days, great days and, sometimes, bad days. However, every once in a while, we are fortunate to experience… extraordinary days.
Recently, in Greeneville, North Carolina, I had one of those rare, extraordinary days.
“What the heck happened to Adam?” you might be wondering.
Well… I was very fortunate (and very lucky) to spend the day touring the East Carolina Heart Institute with Dr. Randolph Chitwood.
Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood – East Carolina Heart Institute
By Adam Pick on February 9, 2010
It is often said that heart surgery can be a physical and emotional rollercoaster for patients. There are ups… And, there are downs.
If anyone can testify to that realistic thought, it is Duane Hunt. As you might recall, I recently featured Duane’s story at our new online community, Heart Valve Journals, following his mitral valve repair.
By Adam Pick on February 7, 2010
Last Wednesday, our patient and caregiver community was fortunate to participate in an exclusive, online chat with Doctor Marc Gillinov, MD, one of the leading heart valve surgeons from The Cleveland Clinic.
As this was our first, interactive chat with The Cleveland Clinic, I was curious (and a bit nervous) to receive feedback from their team following the event.
By Adam Pick on February 3, 2010
I just received a great email from Dale about sternum and shoulder clicking after open heart surgery.
Dale writes, “Hi Adam – I had my surgery on November 2, 2009. The surgeon replaced my bicuspid aortic valve (with a bovine tissue valve), the root aorta, and grafted a large piece of my ascending aorta. I have a question… I have some very occasional clicking in my sternum. However, I also have clicking in my right shoulder. It has become more intense, frequent and uncomfortable. Is this normal? Thank you for both the book and this blog! Dale Pfeiffer”
By Adam Pick on February 2, 2010
On Wednesday, Dr. Marc Gillinov, one of the leading heart valve surgeons from The Cleveland Clinic, is going to host an exclusive, interactive chat with our community.
As we prepare for the hour-long event, which takes place from 2pm to 3pm (EST) today, I have received several, great questions from patients and caregivers that are going to participate in the chat. That said, I will use this blog to answer the six, most common questions filling my inbox.
QUESTION 1 – Can I still register for the event?
Answer: Yes, you can still register for the event. To register for the event, simply click this link and follow the instructions.
QUESTION 2 – Is the online chat free? Or, do I need to pay?
Answer: The event is completely free for everybody.
By Adam Pick on January 31, 2010
Are you ready for some very interesting heart valve surgery trivia?
The question for today is, “When was the first successful mitral valve repair surgery?”
Your multiple choice answers are:
Scroll down below the mitral valve repair diagram for the answer.
By Adam Pick on January 31, 2010
I recently met Dr. Giovanni Ciuffo, a cardiac surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Although it was our first time chatting, I really enjoyed learning about Dr. Ciuffo’s practice which specializes in minimally-invasive heart valve surgery and, at times, bloodless surgery.
During our conversation, Dr. Ciuffo mentioned an article he just published about aortic valve stenosis and its impact on elderly patients. I found the article, “Aortic Stenosis – The Neglected Child: Novel Techniques To Take Care Of It”, full of educational and interesting information. That said, I thought you might like to review it as well. So, here are select excerpts from Dr. Ciuffo’s latest publication:
Calcific aortic valve stenosis (AS) is quite frequent in our population. A clear increase in prevalence is seen with age: 1-3% in patients aged 65-75 years, 2-4% in those aged 75-85 years, 4% in patients older than 85 years.
It is, without a question, a disease of the elderly with the exception of patients with bicuspid aortic valves who present with severe AS or Aortic Insufficiency (leaky valve) two decades earlier and the rare case of rheumatic valve disease.
Picture Of Calcified Bicuspid Aortic Valve
By Adam Pick on January 29, 2010
Two weeks ago, we introduced a unique website feature known as Heart Valve Journals. I’m very happy to report that the number of new journals launched – by patients and caregivers – has soared!
One of the most active patients within this new community is Duane Hunt from Winter Haven, Florida. Not only is Duane active, he is a very funny writer. Plus, Duane’s friends and family are showering him with support as his Guestbook already has 175+ comments.
Duane And Peggy Hunt
By Adam Pick on January 26, 2010
I just received an interesting email from Tammy that touches on heart valve surgery, atrial fibrillation and the MAZE procedure.
Tammy writes, “Adam – Like a couple of your readers (Mark, Patrick and Anita), my doctor has suggested that I need a combo operation that includes a mitral valve repair due to regurg and a Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation. I’m just starting to do my research and was wondering if you have any videos about the Maze procedure. Thanks, Tammy”
Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that several patients are discussing the MAZE procedure in their new Heart Valve Journals. That said, I located a great video by Dr. Niv Ad of Inova Health System which discusses the MAZE procedure and atrial fibrillation. So… Without further ado, here is the video:
You can learn more at our new AFib & Heart Valve Education Center.
I hope this video helped Tammy (and perhaps you) learn more about the MAZE procedure and heart valve surgery.
Keep on tickin!