Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 46

Video Reminder To… Embrace Life

By Adam Pick on May 8, 2010

Sam Swerdlow, a recent aortic valve replacement patient from Oregon, just sent me this incredibly innovative and thoughtful video. I hope you enjoy it and remember to… embrace life.




Have a great weekend!

Keep on tickin!

Teddy Bears For Open Heart Surgery Patients?

By Adam Pick on May 8, 2010

I was just surfing the Internet when I came across a furry teddy bear designed for… Yes, you guessed it…. Recovering open heart surgery patients.

After rubbing my eyes (and shaking my head a bit), I then noticed the teddy bear had a little zipper on his chest that opened to reveal a stitched heart.


Mended Heart Teddy Bear


On one hand, I thought, “Seriously? That can’t be real.” Then, when I noticed the price tag, I knew for sure this fluffy creature was definitely very real.

It turns out that the Mended Heart Bear is part of a line of get-well bears from Bummer Bears. This company makes teddy bears for patients recovering from broken bones, appendix removals and heart surgery.

What will they think of next?

Keep on tickin!

“How Long Were You In Cardiac Depression?” Asks Mark

By Adam Pick on May 6, 2010

I just received a great question from Mark that relates to cardiac depression after heart valve surgery.


Patient In Cardiac Depression


Mark writes, “Adam – Thanks for your book and website. It’s pretty amazing what you have done for so many patients who need heart valve surgery. As for my question, I am nine weeks post-surgery. I feel like my mental health is declining due to the operation (and other family issues). I’m having more bad days than good days. I’m curious… How long were you in cardiac depression? Thanks, Mark”

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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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