Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 43

Interactive Heart Valve Anatomy Tool At

By Adam Pick on May 4, 2010

In response to our recent discussions about the progression of heart valve stenosis and rheumatic heart valve disease, I have received several emails about the anatomy of the heart and the anatomy of our heart valves. Most of these inquiries have come from patients recently diagnosed with some form of severe valvular disorder.


Interactive Heart Anatomy Tool At www.MyHeartValve
Interactive Heart Anatomy Tool


To help those patients (and perhaps you) learn more about human heart anatomy, you may want to visit This website, which officially launched last week, contains an interactive section that describes heart anatomy and helps answer three key questions for patients and caregivers:

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Bob Uecker, 75, Recovering From Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on May 4, 2010

In 2009, the global news wires were filled with stories about public figures undergoing heart valve surgery. As you might recall, Robin Williams, Barbara Bush, Ed Koch, Elizabeth Taylor and many other well-known people had heart valve repair or heart valve replacement surgery last year.


Bob Uecker Undergoes Successful Aortic Valve And Aortic Root Surgery
Bob Uecker – Heart Valve Surgery Patient


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“Is Rheumatic Heart Valve Disease Common?” Asks Frank

By Adam Pick on May 2, 2010

I just received an interesting question from Frank about rheumatic heart disease and heart valve surgery.


Surgical Repair Of Mitral Valve Stenosis Due to Rheumatic Fever


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“Former Patients… Can You Help?” Asks Adam

By Adam Pick on May 2, 2010

Hi everybody!

I wanted you to know that our Heart Valve Surgeon Database is continuing to grow and grow and grow. The directory now has over 500 surgeon profiles from 25 different countries. Not only is the database expanding, but it is really helping patients search for, learn about and contact trusted heart valve surgeons around the world.

Also, I just added a new search feature for patients. Several patients require bloodless surgery for personal and/or religious reasons. That said, I created a bloodless criteria on the main search page.


Help Wanted Sign


HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE… We still need your help with this database!!! If you have had heart valve surgery, please consider contributing a surgeon profile to the directory. It only takes 5 minutes to complete the online form. Can you help?

To add your surgeon profile, please click here.

In advance, thanks for taking the time to help future patients and caregivers!

Keep on tickin!

Chiropractor, Richard Schmidt, Anxiously Awaits Skiing and Gardening As His Sternum Heals

By Adam Pick on April 30, 2010

I just came across a fantastic email from Dr. Richard Schmidt which touches on the unique, patient process of healing. As you can read below, Dr. Schmidt recently had double heart valve repair and is anxiously awaiting a fully healed sternum to resume his life passions. Here is what Richard wrote to me:


Richard Schmidt - Chiropractor Heart Surgery Patient
Dr. Richard Schmidt, 66, Recently Had Aortic & Mitral Valve Repair


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Medtronic Gobbles Up ATS Medical As Heart Valve Device Consolidation Continues

By Adam Pick on April 30, 2010

The consolidation trend within the heart valve industry continued yesterday as ATS Medical was purchased by Medtronic in a cash deal valued at $350 million. So you know, that is a 54% premium to ATS’ market capitalization on Wednesday. As a result, ATS’s stock soared $2.59 to $4.00.


ATS Medical Acquired By Medtronic For $350 million


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“How Quickly Does Heart Valve Stenosis Progress?” Asks Emma

By Adam Pick on April 27, 2010

Emma just emailed me an interesting question about aortic valve stenosis and the rate at which this form of heart valve disease progresses.


Aortic Valve Stenosis – Narrow Heart Valve


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Guest Blog: “Scarless Heart Valve Surgery For Women” By Dr. Giovanni Ciuffo

By Adam Pick on April 24, 2010

Earlier this week, I spoke with Dr. Giovanni Ciuffo, a minimally invasive and bloodless heart surgery specialist, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. (As you may remember, Dr. Ciuffo wrote “Aortic Stenosis… The Neglected Child”.)

During our discussion, Dr. Ciuffo shared several clinical insights about traditional, median sternotomy approaches, as well as, minimally invasive procedures (e.g. mini-thoracotomy). After our discussion, Dr. Ciuffo forwarded me an article he recently published titled, “Scarless Heart Valve Surgery For Women”.


Heart Surgery Scar From Traditional Median Sternotomy


As I reviewed Dr. Giuffo’s article, I found the article to be full of interesting and educational information — especially for woman. That said, here are the highlights from this article:

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Together, We Have Saved A Child’s Life!

By Adam Pick on April 23, 2010

I just received a very memorable letter from Kenneth Fogel, Chair of Gift of Life. First, Ken’s letter thanked us for our recent $5,000 donation to Gift of Life. If you didn’t know, Gift of Life is a special, charitable organization that addresses the medical needs of children who suffer from congenital heart defects.


Gift of Life International


More importantly…

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X-Ray Trivia: Can You Find Joe’s New Heart Valve Replacement?

By Adam Pick on April 23, 2010

Joseph Minnucci has really taken advantage of our new Heart Valve Journals tool to communicate with his support group and fellow patients. That said, you may already be aware that Joe had heart valve replacement surgery on February 8, 2010.


Joseph Minucci - Aortic Valve Replacement Patient
Joseph Minnucci – Heart Valve Replacement Patient


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Danielle Is “Thrilled” With Dad’s Heart Valve Replacement Result

By Adam Pick on April 21, 2010

Waking up to a fresh cup of coffee and a patient success story is a wonderful way to start the day. That said, I just received this great story about Danielle Curcio and her father, Bill Mordarski.


Danielle Curcio and Her Father - Heart Valve Replacement Patient
Danielle Curcio (Daughter) and Bill Mordarski (Father, Patient)


I first spoke with Danielle one month ago as her father was preparing for heart valve replacement surgery. Like many caregivers, Danielle was full of good questions, some anxiety and a hopeful attitude. Most of all, I remember Danielle’s love for her father radiating through the phone.

Here is what Danielle wrote to me:

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“Am I Too Old For The Ross Procedure?” Asks Greg

By Adam Pick on April 21, 2010

I just received an interesting question from Greg about the Ross Procedure option for aortic valve replacement.

Greg writes, “Adam – I’ve been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. According to my cardiologist, I’ll be needing surgery in the next few months. Thanks to you, I now know about the Ross Procedure. It seems like it could be a good option for me as I’m active and do not want to be on Coumadin for the rest of my life. However, unlike you, I’m a bit older at 57 years of age. I’m wondering if I’m too old for the Ross Procedure? Do you have any thoughts? Thanks for all you do! Greg”



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Off Topic: Stop And Smell The Roses

By Adam Pick on April 21, 2010

Several months after my surgery, I started gardening. While I continue to lack a knowledgeable green thumb, I really enjoy the process of working alongside Mother Nature. Even with all my gardening mishaps, I am super lucky to have a springtime rose bloom going on right now.

So, if you are interested in participating in the age-old cliche, I encourage you to… Stop and smell the roses. (Well, maybe not smell… But, I think you know what I mean.)



This yellow rose could be my favorite of the bunch.


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“Incision Site Or Full Body Shave?” Asks Shirley

By Adam Pick on April 19, 2010

I just received an interesting question from Shirley about hair removal prior to heart valve surgery.


Hair Trim Before Surgery


Shirley writes, “Adam, I’m set for valve surgery next week due to severe mitral regurgitation as a result of a congenital prolapse. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I’m anxious. Quick question: I have heard that all of my body hair will be shaved (even below my waist) prior to surgery. Is that true? Shirley”

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Penny’s “Roller Coaster Recovery” Slows Down After Double Heart Valve Repair

By Adam Pick on April 11, 2010

I just read in her Heart Valve Journal that Penny McIntosh has seen her recovery get “back on track” after a few post-operative complications including atrial fibrillation and fluid in her lungs. As you may know, Penny had mitral and tricuspid valve repairs and a MAZE procedure performed on February 26, 2010.


Penny McIntosh – Double Heart Valve Repair Patient


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Triva: How Many Times Do Your Four Heart Valves Open And Close Each Day?

By Adam Pick on April 11, 2010

Okay, here’s our heart valve trivia question for the day:

How many times do your four heart valves open-and-close every day?

A. 4,000
B. 40,000
C. 400,000
D. 4,000,000


Animation Of The Heart Pumping Blood In And Out


According to The Cleveland Clinic, your heart beats about 100,000 every day. Considering there are four valves in the heart, which open-and-close with each heart beat, the answer is… 400,000.

To see how the heart valves open-and-close, watch this video titled, “How The Heart Works“.

Keep on tickin!

Pregnancy Update: With Bicuspid Valve, Melinda Welcomes Baby Alex To The World!

By Adam Pick on April 10, 2010

I often receive questions about pregnancy concerns from women wanting to have children before or after heart valve surgery. That said, here is an update from Melinda Hacker, a bicuspid aortic valve patient who just welcomed Alex, her new son, to the world:


Alex Hacker – Born To Melinda Hacker,
Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patient



I wanted to give you an update on an email I sent to you about 8 ½ months ago telling you that I have a bicuspid aortic valve with a dilated aortic root and… I had just found out that I was pregnant.  Do you remember?

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Thanks To Dr. Accola, Scott Gets Successful Valve Reoperation

By Adam Pick on April 10, 2010

Sometimes, the patient success stories I receive are so interesting, they need no introduction. That said, I hope you enjoy Scott’s unique story:

Hello Adam,

I have had the intention of writing you numerous times and something always seemed to come up and delay my writing. But today is the day! It is also 2 weeks since my surgery and I feel great!


Scott Neiman, Aortic Valve Replacement Patient
Scott With Lindsey, Nick and Fred (the Teddy Bear)


First of all let me address the number one reason I am writing to you.  It is to say a BIG THANK YOU!  Thank you Adam for not only your book but also your website and blog. I have spent much time reading and researching all three for the last month and a half. It is also the first place I came across Dr. Kevin Accola, the surgeon I would ultimately chose to do my aortic valve replacement.

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“Do Calcium Supplements Accelerate Heart Valve Disease?” Asks Cheryl

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2010

As I suffered from a calcified heart valve prior to surgery, I definitely perked up when I read this email from Cheryl of Ontario, Canada.


Aortic Stenosis Caused By Calcified Heart Valve Leaflets
Calcified Aortic Valve (Aortic Stenosis)


Cheryl wrote to me, “Hi Adam – I have heard that some patients have been cautioned about the overuse of calcium supplements (including Rolaids) considering potential damage to heart valve leaflets.  As so many patients, especially women, use supplements, I was curious to know your thoughts about calcium supplements. My calcium use was part of my history when I underwent a mitral valve repair and I wasn’t given any warning. What about other antacids such as Tums? Is this a cause of valve failure? Thanks, Cheryl”

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Beautiful Waves Inspire Paul To Endure Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on April 2, 2010

Lately, a wonderful email is going around the Internet about the wave photography of Clark Little, a Hawaiian photographer and surfer. Each time I see the email, I am excited to click on it. And, each time, I end up sighing, “Wowwwwwwwwwwww”, as I scroll through the magical pictures.


Earlier today, I received this exact email from Paul Kiminski, a heart valve surgery patient, who wrote, “Seeing these photos are one reason to stay around – endure the surgery – and enjoy the beauty one more day.”

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