Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 45

“What Are The Most Exciting Technologies For Heart Valve Treatment?” Asks Leslie

By Adam Pick on June 1, 2011

At the recent AATS meeting in Philadelphia, I was very fortunate to meet with Dr. Craig Smith, the chairman of surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center.

Considering that Dr. Smith is a principal investigator on the PARTNER clinical trial – which is evaluating transcatheter aortic valve replacements – it was very helpful to get his opinions specific to Leslie’s question about technology.



Thanks to Leslie for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Smith for sharing his thoughts, clinical experience and research specific to the future of aortic valve replacement using percutaneous technology.

For those members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of Dr. Smith’s video interview below.

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Cardiac Pioneer, Dr. Larry Cohn, Offers Helpful Tips For Patients Preparing For Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on May 26, 2011

During his 40-year career, Dr. Larry Cohn has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures at leading heart centers including Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Interestingly, Dr. Cohn is much more than a world renown surgeon, author and educator, he is also… a former aortic valve replacement patient.

Needless to say, it was an honor to visit with Dr. Cohn at the recent 91st Annual American Association for Thoracic Surgeons Meeting in Philadelphia. During our chat, Dr. Cohn addressed a common, patient question about preparing for heart surgery. Specifically, Dr. Cohn answered Fred’s question, “As I prepare for mitral valve repair surgery, should I maintain, increase or decrease my exercise program?”



Thanks to Fred for his question. And, a very special thanks to Dr. Larry Cohn for his commitment, dedication and pursuit of healthy heart valves. For the members of our community that are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript to this video interview with Dr. Cohn below.

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Bill Gets Successful Aortic Root & Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery, Thanks To Margarita And Dr. Stewart

By Adam Pick on May 22, 2011

It is an unexpected privilege and honor to support the patients and the caregivers of this community.

When I started this online project five years ago, I never thought my inbox would receive empowering stories from so many people including Bill Easton, Margarita Easton and Dr. Allan Stewart.


Bill & Margarita Easton
Bill, 86, and Margarita Easton


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Web Chat Announcement: “Percutaneous Valve Treatment” With Dr. Svensson and Dr. Tuzcu From The Cleveland Clinic

By Adam Pick on May 21, 2011

Sorry for the last minute notice… But, I just learned that The Cleveland Clinic will be hosting a special Internet chat on Monday, May 23rd, at 12pm (EST). The exciting topic of the web chat will be percutaneous heart valve treatments. The moderators for the event will be Dr. Lars Svensson, director of the aorta program, and Dr. Murat Tuzcu, vice chairman of the cardiology department.



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“What Causes Atrial Fibrillation After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Ted

By Adam Pick on May 20, 2011

Last week, at the American Association for Thoracic Surgeons meeting, Ted sent me a great question about atrial fibrillation after heart valve surgery. He writes, “Dear Adam, I had my aortic valve replaced. The new valve is a pericardial tissue heart valve. What causes A-Fib after surgery? I had one incident of A-Fib while in the hospital followed by four more incidents two weeks after surgery. Thank you! Ted”

To help Ted, I asked Dr. Niv Ad, the chief of cardiac surgery at Inova Heart & Vascular Institute in Falls Church, Virginia, this exact question. So you know, a key research initiative of Dr. Ad’s practice focuses on atrial fibrillation. Here is Dr. Ad’s video response to Ted.



I want to thank Ted for his question. Plus, I have to offer a special thanks to Dr. Niv Ad for his continued support of this patient and caregiver community. Dr. Ad has really helped transform this resource from an ordinary website into an extra-ordinary community. Thanks Dr. Ad!!!

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

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After FDA Approval, Trifecta Heart Valve Replacement Takes Over Philadelphia

By Adam Pick on May 20, 2011

Over the years, I have heard from many patients who wanted to learn about the Trifecta heart valve replacement and its clinical trials.  As you might recall, this aortic valve replacement device is described by St. Jude Medical, its manufacturer, as a “next generation” heart valve replacement that:

  • Contains three pericardial tissue leaflets;
  • Uses a titanium stent covered with polyester and pericardial tissue; and
  • Leverages St. Jude’s patented Linx AC Technology to help prevent aortic valve calcification after implant.


Trifect Heart Valve Replacement
Trifecta Heart Valve Replacement (St. Jude Medical)


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After Aortic Valve Replacement, David Recommends Cardiac Rehab, The Incision Shield & Dr. Somers

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2011

I really enjoy hearing from patients after their heart valve procedures. Their stories are often filled with inspiration and unique patient perspective. For example, here is a recent email from David Hooper following his aortic valve replacement surgery.


David Hooper Holding A Big Red Heart Pillow


David writes to me…

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“How To Manage The Fear & Anxiety Before Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Sophia

By Adam Pick on May 14, 2011

Sophia sent me a very appropriate question about two emotions experienced by most patients prior to heart valve surgery. She writes, “Adam – I’m 62 and diagnosed with mitral regurgitation. I need surgery and I’m scared out of my mind. Is there anything the surgeons can share that could ease my fear and anxiety?”


Concerns About Heart Surgery


Luckily, I was able to ask this exact question to Dr. Marc Gillinov, MD, a leading surgeon from The Cleveland Clinic. So you know, Dr. Gillinov has performed over 2,500 heart valve procedures during his career.


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An Incredible Opportunity To Learn From Professor Alain Carpentier, The “Father” Of Modern Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on May 13, 2011

I’m a history buff. That said, I was beyond excited to meet Professor Alain Carpentier at the Mitral Conclave. If you did not know, Professor Carpentier is widely regarded as the “Father” of modern heart valve surgery.


Dr. Alain Carpentier, Adam Pick, Dr. David Adams & Dr. Fred Mohr At Mitral Conclave
Adam, Professor Alain Carpentier, Dr. David Adams & Dr. Friedrich Mohr


After the introduction, I was fortunate to witness the filming of a very, very, very special interview with Professor Carpentier. Thanks to Dr. David Adams and Dr. Randy Martin, I am able to share portions of that interview below.

I encourage all patients and caregivers to watch this video and learn about this incredible man. As you will hear, Professor Carpentier’s curiosity triggered many of the innovations that transformed valvular treatment.



For those members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a written transcript of Professor Alain Carpentier’s video interview below.

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Led By Dr. Adams & Dr. Badhwar, Medtronic “Wet Lab” Offers Best Practices For Heart Valve Repair

By Adam Pick on May 13, 2011

Since launching this blog five years ago, I’ve been very fortunate to attend unique events related to heart valve surgery. Last Friday, I attended a Medtronic “Wet Lab” at the Mitral Conclave in New York City. As the pictures and videos below illustrate, this was a memorable experience.


Wet Lab For Cardiac Surgery
Dr. Vinay Badhwar Moderates The Heart Valve Repair Wet Lab


During the 90-minute session, led by Dr. David Adams and Dr. Vinay Badhwar, an ordinary conference room in the Sheraton hotel was transformed into a medical laboratory. There, heart valve surgeons — from around the world — exchanged views and opinions about heart valve repair techniques using annuloplasty rings.

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“Even Though I’m Already Diagnosed With Mitral Regurgitation, Is It Possible I Will Never Need Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Debby

By Adam Pick on May 9, 2011

While at the Mitral Conclave, I was fortunate to meet with Dr. Kevin Accola, a leading mitral valve surgeon from Orlando, Florida. During our discussion, I asked Dr. Accola a question submitted by Debby about mitral valve repair. (Click here to learn about mitral valve repair operations.)

Debby asked, “I was diagnosed with a severe mitral regurgitation disorder over 5 years ago. Now, at 42, I have no symptoms or health concerns. Is it possible that I will never need a mitral valve repair? Or, is that wishful thinking?”



Thanks to Debby for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Kevin Accola for sharing his clinical expertise with us!

For those of you who are hearing impaired, please find below a transcript of our discussion.

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The Origins Of The Mitral Conclave With Dr. David Adams (Part I)

By Adam Pick on May 8, 2011

Since Friday, I’ve received several questions from patients and caregivers in our community about the 2011 Mitral Conclave in New York City. To share more insight about the Mitral Conclave, I asked Dr. David Adams, the program director, to describe the origins of this very unique event. Here is what Dr. Adams shared with me.



So you know, this is Part I of my interview with Doctor Adams. Please stay tuned… In the next few days, I will be posting Dr. Adams’ response to one of your questions about mitral regurgitation disease and mitral valve repair.

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1st Mitral Conclave Attracts 900 Surgeons… And Me!

By Adam Pick on May 6, 2011

I never imagined I would travel across the country for a mitral valve surgery conference. However, when Dr. David Adams invited me to the inaugural Mitral Conclave in New York City, I had to attend this extraordinary meeting.



To help those members of our community who are hearing impaired, I have provided a video transcript below.

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Technology Update: Robotic Aortic Valve Replacement With Dr. Hussam Balkhy

By Adam Pick on May 5, 2011

While the Da Vinci robot is primarily used for mitral valve repair procedures, a handful of clinical cases have leveraged robotic technology for aortic valve replacement.

To get an update on robotic aortic valve replacement, I recently interviewed Dr. Husam Balkhy, the director of minimally invasive and robotic surgery at The Wisconsin Heart Hospital. As you may recall, Dr. Balkhy has performed aortic valve replacement using the Da Vinci robot and the ATS 3f Bioprosthetic valve, a horse valve replacement.



To help those in our patient and caregiver community that are hearing impaired, I have included a transcript of this video interview with Dr. Balkhy below.

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New 2011 Edition Of My Book… Available Now!

By Adam Pick on May 5, 2011

Hi everybody,

I wanted to let you know that the new 2011 edition of my book is now available. For this edition, we are thrilled to feature several contributions from leading heart valve surgeons and cardiologists that focus on valvular care. In total, there are over 50 references from the likes of Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Chitwood, Dr. Adams, Dr. Stewart, Dr. Roselli and many more.


The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery - 2011 Edition


In addition, this fourth revised edition includes several updates specific to heart valve technology, surgical options, patient-recommended surgeons and post-operative care.

Most importantly, the book continues to focus on the patient perspective specific to heart valve surgery. In total, over 135 patient contributions are included in the new book. That said, I’m very hopeful this book will continue to help patients and caregivers around the world.

If you have any interest in reading the 4th revision of “The Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery”, please click here.

Keep on tickin!

“What About Adhesions, Pericardium Closing and Heart Valve Reoperations?” Asks Judy

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2011

I just received an interesting email from Judy about adhesions, the pericardium and heart valve re-operations.

Judy writes, “Hi Adam, I am a 66-year old female preparing for aortic valve replacement. I have calcification at the sinotubular junction. Reoperation would be tricky in my case as I have an anomalous circumflex artery. I wondered what can be done to minimize the chances of adhesions? Could not closing the pericardium contribute to adhesions? What are the pros and cons of leaving the pericardium open? Thanks, Judy”


Adhesions After Heart Surgery
Post-Operative Adhesion


To answer Judy’s questions, I contacted Dr. Craig Smith, the chairman of surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center. If you did not know, Dr. Smith recently performed aortic valve replacement on Barbara Walters. Doctor Smith has also operated on Former President Bill Clinton and several members of our patient community including Gary Poltorak.


Dr. Craig Smith - Heart Surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York
Dr. Craig Smith – Heart Surgeon of Former President Bill Clinton
and Barbara Walters (NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital)


In his response to Judy, Dr. Smith noted…


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“What Are Those Big Heart-Shaped Pillows Used For?” Asks Alice

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2011

Alice just sent me a great question about the use of heart-shaped pillows after heart valve surgery. She writes, “Hi Adam,  I’m 61-years old and preparing for a mitral valve repair due to mitral regurgitation disease. I can’t help but notice the huge pillows clutched by patients in several photos across your website. What are those used for? Thanks, Alice”

In case you have yet to see them, here are four pictures of heart valve surgery patients (David Swendson, Anita Devine, Carla Hansen and John Turan) which feature these unique, heart-shaped pillows.


Patients Holding Big Red Pillow After Heart Surgery
Heart Valve Surgery Patients – David Swendson,
Anita Devine, Carla Hansen & John Turan


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“Pradaxa For Atrial Fibrillation? Heart Valve Disease? Mechanical Heart Valve Replacements?” Asks Gene

By Adam Pick on April 10, 2011

I’ve received several questions about the use of Pradaxa as a potential Coumadin-substitute for patients with atrial fibrillation, valve disease and/or mechanical heart valve replacements. I am a “better safe than sorry” type guy, so I wanted to make sure our patient community was on the same page specific to this new anticoagulant.


Pradaxa Medication Bottle


For those of you unfamiliar with Pradaxa, it was approved by the FDA in October, 2010. Following the results of its RE-LY study, Pradaxa is now considered by some to be an alternative to Coumadin — an established anticoagulant (blood thinner) for preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. During the RE-LY trial, patients with atrial fibrillation taking Pradaxa had fewer strokes compared to those using Coumadin.

In light of this news, patients in our community – including Gene – sent me questions about Pradaxa. I contacted Dr. Niv Ad, a leading cardiac surgeon at White Oak Medical Center in Takoma Park, Maryland, to learn more about this drug and its potential utility for patients with mechanical heart valve replacements.

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“Will I Need A Mitral Valve Repair Or A Mitral Valve Replacement?” Asks Barbara

By Adam Pick on April 7, 2011

A common consideration among patients preparing for valvular treatment is whether or not they will get a heart valve repair or a heart valve replacement.

Recently, Dr. Lars Svensson and I discussed the clinical indicators for aortic valve repair due to aortic regurgitation. Relative to the mitral valve, here is an educational video in which Dr. Jeffrey Swanson answers Barbara’s question, “From a surgeon’s perspective, what differentiates the need for mitral valve repair versus mitral valve replacement due to mitral regurgitation?”



Also, for the hearing impaired, I have provided a video transcript below.

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“What Is The Best Heart Valve Replacement For My 16-Year Old Son?” Asks Carole

By Adam Pick on April 4, 2011

Carole recently sent me an interesting email about Ian, her sixteen-year old son who suffers from aortic valve disease.

She writes, “Hi Adam, My son needs to have his aortic valve replaced. His surgery is scheduled for August. We are struggling with the decision of which valve replacement to have implanted. Ian is leaning towards the On-X mechanical valve but is hesitant because of the Coumadin factor. Do you know any other patients in Ian’s age group? What do you think is the best valve replacement for Ian? Thanks so much for your wonderful and informative heart valve book. Carole”


Valve Replacement Devices


This is a great and complex question. As we have discussed before, if a valve repair is not possible, a key consideration for the patient will be, “Which type of heart valve replacement is best for me?” The answer to that question is dependent upon several factors – including age, active lifestyle, risk factors, etc.

I wanted to provide Carole an expert opinion. So, I contacted Dr. Lucas Collazo.

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