Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 42

“Happy Thanksgiving!” From Ethan, Robyn and Me

By Adam Pick on November 22, 2011

If you didn’t know… Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday.

How can you go wrong with comfort food, family, friends and the overwhelming reminder of thankfulness? On that note, I want to extend a tremendous “Thank you!” to all members of this growing community of patients, caregivers, surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, cardiac centers and medical device manufacturers.


Family Near Lake Celebrating Thanksgiving


Together, we are empowering each other in a way that I never imagined when this project started five years ago. I am continuously touched, moved and inspired by your words, your stories, your encouragement and your ongoing pursuit of healthy hearts.

May you have a very happy and a very safe Thanksgiving!

Gobble! Gobble!

Special Announcement: Don’t Miss “Ask The Surgeon” Web Chat With Dr. Bruce Lytle Of The Cleveland Clinic

By Adam Pick on November 21, 2011

I just learned some great news! Dr. Bruce Lytle, Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Heart Institute, will be hosting a special, live web chat titled “Ask The Heart Surgeon” this Wednesday at 12 pm (EST). Needless to say, this is an exciting opportunity for patients and caregivers to gain direct access to one of the leading heart valve surgeons.



So you know… Dr. Bruce Lytle is Chairman of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and a staff cardiac surgeon in the Cleveland Clinic Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. To learn more about Dr. Lytle, click here.

Dr. Lytle has a special interest in coronary artery disease, arterial bypass grafting, valvular heart diseases, valve surgery, re-operations and diseases of the thoracic aorta. Thanks to Betsy for letting our patient and caregiver community know about this fantastic event!

Keep on tickin!

“Is Heart Valve Surgery Common For Elderly Patients?” Asks Wanda

By Adam Pick on November 17, 2011

Prior to the Heart Valve Summit, Wanda sent me two great questions. She wrote, “Adam – What is the oldest person that a surgeon has operated on? Is it common for the elderly to have heart valve surgery? Thanks! Wanda”

As I receive this question often — from patients and caregivers — I wanted to provide Wanda an expert opinion. For that reason, I met with Dr. Steven Bolling, heart surgeon and Director of The Mitral Valve Clinic at the University of Michigan. Here are the highlights from our discussion.



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New Reports Surface About The SAPIEN Aortic Valve Replacement

By Adam Pick on November 17, 2011

In case you missed it… Some very interesting reports came out about the SAPIEN, a non-invasive aortic valve replacement for patients with aortic stenosis that just received FDA approval for inoperable patients, at the recent Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in San Francisco.



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Video: Pediatric Mitral Valve Leaflet Repair & My ‘Oprah’ Moment

By Adam Pick on November 13, 2011

Emotions are powerful. They surface quickly. They alter biochemistry. They transform seconds into memorable moments.

Recently, several of my emotions — thankfulness, appreciation, humility, indebtedness — appeared during a special chat with Doctor Vaughn Starnes, my surgeon. What began as a discussion about pediatric mitral valve repair, quickly turned into an emotional moment as I stood next to the man who changed my life.



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Heart Valve Summit Video #5: “Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Better For Pain & Recovery?” Asks Jake

By Adam Pick on November 11, 2011

Jake sent me a great question relating to pain, minimally invasive surgical approaches and recovery. He writes, “Adam — I hear a lot about minimally invasive procedures being much better for pain and recovery. Is that true? Thanks, Jake”

During the Heart Valve Summit, I was very fortunate to ask Jake’s question to Dr. Kevin Accola, a leading cardiac surgeon who has performed over 9,000 cardiac procedures including 2,400 heart valve operations. Here are the highlights from our discussion:



Thanks to Jake for his question and a special thanks to Dr. Kevin Accola for taking the time to meet with us and share his clinical expertise. As you may know, Dr. Accola has performed successful surgery on many members of our community including:

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Valve Clinic Tour: Dr. Patrick McCarthy Returns Home To Lead The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute At Northwestern Memorial Hospital

By Adam Pick on November 9, 2011

In 2004, one of the leading heart valve surgeons came home.

In the midst of his 30-year career, which includes time at Stanford University, The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Patrick M. McCarthy returned to Chicago, the city of his birth, to lead the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Given Dr. McCarthy’s clinical achievements, research, cardiac inventions, publications and patient recommendations, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to tour Northwestern prior to the Heart Valve Summit.


Dr. Patrick McCarthy – Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery
Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital


During the tour, which included several meetings with medical and administrative teams, I quickly came to understand four  reasons why so many patients within our community are enthusiastic about this program – which is currently ranked by US News and World Report at:

  • No. 16 for cardiovascular care across the nation; and
  • No. 1 for cardiovascular care in the Chicago-metro area.

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Heart Valve Summit Video #4: “Why Are The New Transcatheter Therapies Only For Inoperable Patients?” Asks Cory

By Adam Pick on November 7, 2011

As we learned last Thursday, the FDA just approved the new SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement for inoperable patients. This exciting announcement has left many patients and caregivers wondering why the SAPIEN is only for inoperable patients in the United States.

At the recent Heart Valve Summit, I was able to discuss this important topic with Dr. Lars Svensson, MD, one of the leading heart valve surgeons at The Cleveland Clinic. Here are the highlights of Dr. Svensson’s response to Cory’s question, “Why are the new transcatheter therapies only for inoperable patients?”



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Heart Valve Summit Video #3: “What Is The Most Important Diagnostic Element To Consider PRIOR To Mitral Valve Surgery?” Asks Ken

By Adam Pick on November 4, 2011

I don’t know about you… But, when I was diagnosed with severe heart valve disease, I experienced several dislocating emotions. One of those emotions was confusion. As my cardiologist reviewed my echocardiogram, he used medical terms that were foreign to me.

To help future patients avoid a similar situation, I recently interviewed Dr. Randy Martin — the past president of The American Society of Echocardiography and Chief of Valvular & Structural Heart Disease at Piedmont Heart Institute — during the Heart Valve Summit. During our chat, Dr. Martin answered Ken’s question, “What is the most important diagnostic element prior to mitral valve surgery?”



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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!


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