Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 46

“Can Aortic Valve Stenosis Be Cured Through Nutrition?” Asks Paul

By Adam Pick on February 26, 2011

I recently received an interesting question from Paul about aortic stenosis and nutrition. Paul writes, “Hi Adam – I’m in my 40’s and just diagnosed with a severely leaking valve. I was told I need a mechanical valve or I will drop dead in 2 to 3 years. I do not want to take Coumadin. Is it possible for patients to enter a natural program — via a qualified nutritionalist — which may actually stimulate tissue growth around the valve, thus fixing the cause rather than treating the symptoms?”


Stenotic Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Aortic Valve Stenosis – Narrowing Heart Valve


While I have my own thoughts on this topic, I wanted to get an expert opinion for Paul. That said, I contacted Dr. Marc Gerdisch, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indiana. As many of you know, Dr. Gerdisch is a specialist for valvular treatment and cardiac tissue repair.


Continue reading this post »

Valve Clinic Tour: Dr. Junaid Khan Educates Patients About Heart Murmurs & Minimally Invasive Treatment

By Adam Pick on February 24, 2011

Last Thursday, I found myself at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California. My reasons for traveling to Northern California were two-fold. First, I wanted to meet Dr. Junaid Khan, MD, a leading minimally invasive heart valve surgeon on the West Coast. Second, I was asked to speak at a a special, educational seminar titled, “For People With Heart Murmurs”.


Dr. Junaid Khan With Adam Pick
Dr. Junaid Khan & Me


My first meeting of the day was with Dr. Khan. I quickly learned several interesting facts about the surgeon who trained at UCLA Medical Center.

  • Dr. Khan performed over 250 cardiac procedures in 2010.
  • Over 60% of his surgeries are valve-related. Dr. Khan tends to perform more mitral valve surgery than aortic valve surgery.
  • Dr. Khan’s mitral valve repair rate is about 70% while the national average is about 42%.
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center was the only cardiac center to receive a “three-star” rating in California from Consumer Reports.
  • Dr. Khan is a dedicated father and husband. Currently, Dr. Khan coaches the baseball teams for his two sons.

Continue reading this post »

“What Are The Key Indicators For Aortic Valve Repair Vs. Aortic Valve Replacement?” By Dr. Lars Svensson

By Adam Pick on February 20, 2011

Talk about a great coincidence… Just a few minutes after receiving this patient question, Dr. Lars Svensson — the Director of the Aorta Center at the Cleveland Clinic —  walked up to my booth at the 47th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting. That said, here is Dr. Svensson’s response to the question, “What are the key indicators that a diseased aortic valve can be repaired not replaced?”



To learn more about Doctor Lars Svensson, cardiac surgeon, please visit his surgeon profile page by clicking here. For those of you who are hearing impaired, I have provided a video transcript below.

Adam: Hey, everybody. It’s Adam and I’m here in San Diego at the 47th annual STS convention. Very fortunate to be standing next to Dr. Lars Svensson, heart valve surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Svensson has been in practice for just about 30 years.

Continue reading this post »

Technology Update: “Will Extracellular Matrix Help Patients Grow Their Own Heart Valves?” By Dr. Marc Gerdisch

By Adam Pick on February 15, 2011

Advances in medical technology for valvular treatment continue to evolve rapidly. Recently, I learned more about the use of Extracelluar Matrix (ECM) for heart valve repair and remodeling from Dr. Marc Gerdisch, the chief of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2008, Doctor Gerdisch was the world’s first surgeon to use ECM to repair a damaged heart valve.

Here is my interview with Dr. Gerdisch. This discussion was in direct response to Scott’s question, “Will patients be able to grow their own heart valves in the future?”



To help you learn more about Extracellular Matrix and Dr. Gerdisch, I have provided an additional video about ECM and a transcript of this interview below.

Continue reading this post », Our Social Network, Gets Upgraded Servers & New Design!

By Adam Pick on February 14, 2011

Hi everybody,

Since launching our patient and caregiver social network last year, Heart Valve Journals has undergone extraordinary growth.

To give you some idea as to how fast this online community has grown, consider that over the past 6 months our servers have “overloaded” three times. On one day alone, over 10,000 patients and caregivers visited this unique website. So, in order to ensure continuous service, I recently upgraded our servers to a dedicated system. Thus far, the new servers are doing fantastic!!!


Heart Valve Journals - Social Network For Heart Valve Surgery Patients — New Design!


You should also know that we plan on taking Heart Valve Journals into Phase II during 2011. Over the next 12 months, you will see several new features and functions to enhance the communication and interaction of heart valve patients and caregivers around the world. To start… We have given the site a completely new design. During testing, this new design performed favorably — specific to usability and readability.

Continue reading this post »

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” from Ethan, Robyn & Adam

By Adam Pick on February 14, 2011

Hearts are everywhere!

Not only is February “Heart Month” but today is… Valentine’s Day. That said, Ethan, Robyn and I wanted to ensure you knew how much the patients, caregivers, nurses, cardiologists and surgeons of this community mean to us.


Happy Valentines Card WIth Toddler


Thanks for all that you do to help each other through heart valve surgery. We wish you a wonderful day!

Keep on tickin!

STS Video Blog #4: “What About Horse (Equine) Tissue For Heart Valve Replacements?” By Dr. Allan Stewart

By Adam Pick on February 13, 2011

During the 47th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting last week, I received a great question from Keith about the use of horse (equine) tissue in heart valve replacement devices. Keith wrote to me, “Adam – What can you share about aortic valve replacement surgery using horse tissue?”

Luckily, I was able to discuss this topic with Dr. Allan Stewart at the convention. Dr. Stewart, who practices in Miami, is one of the most experienced heart valve surgeons with horse valve replacements — like the ATS 3f Aortic Bioprosthesis manufactured by Medtronic.



As several members of our patient and caregiver community are hearing impaired, I have provided a video transcript below.

Continue reading this post »

Speaking & Book Signing Invitation: “For People With Heart Murmurs” hosted by Alta Bates Medical Center — This Thursday in Oakland!

By Adam Pick on February 11, 2011

For those in the Oakland area, I wanted to invite you to a special, educational seminar hosted by Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California this Thursday, February 17, at 6:30pm.

During this complimentary session titled, “For People with Heart Murmus”, Dr. Junaid Khan, staff surgeon, will discuss heart valve disease and the various treatment options available to patients. To help patients and their caregivers understand the patient perspective on heart valve surgery, Dr. Khan has asked me to speak at the event and then sign books. FYI, all books signed will be provided at no charge for those who RSVP in advance of the event (while supplies last).


Invitation To Attend Alta Bates Summitt Medical Center Event


If you or some you know would like to attend the event, please RSVP by calling (510) 869-6737 as soon as possible — space is limited.

I hope to see you there!

Keep on tickin!

Dr. Gillinov’s Video Blog: “How Can Patients Identify, Prevent And Treat Cardiac Depression?”

By Adam Pick on February 10, 2011

Since writing my book and launching this website, I have been very fortunate to meet some amazing people. One such person is Dr. Marc Gillinov of the Cleveland Clinic. Not only is Dr. Gillinov an incredible surgeon but he is a patient advocate and a proactive supporter of our community.

That said, I was thrilled to interview Dr. Gillinov about the important — but sometimes overlooked — topic of cardiac depression. As I personally experienced, cardiac depression can be an unexpected and unnecessary pitfall during the recovery from heart valve surgery.



Continue reading this post »

Surgeon Video Blog: “What Advice Would You Give Yourself If You Were A Patient?” By Dr. Vincent Gaudiani

By Adam Pick on February 5, 2011

For those unfamiliar with the name “Dr. Vincent Gaudiani”, I’m hopeful this video provides a unique opportunity for you to gain awareness and access to this special cardiac surgeon from Northern California. During his 25+ year career, Dr. Gaudiani has performed over 10,000 heart-related surgeries. Most importantly, Dr. Gaudiani has a way with patients that compels them to email me glowing surgical reviews, praise and success stories (e.g. George Avakian).

That said, I was excited to meet with and interview Dr. Vincent Gaudiani at the 47th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons convention earlier this week. Here is Dr. Gaudiani’s response to the question, “What advice would you give yourself if you were a patient?”



Also, for those of you who are hearing impaired, I have provided a transcript below for your review.


Continue reading this post »

The Heart Valve Surgeon Finder Gets Enhanced Design, New Features

By Adam Pick on February 5, 2011

Hi everybody,

I wanted you all to know that Heart Valve Surgeon Finder – the world’s first heart valve surgeon directory created by patients, caregivers and surgeons — has undergone some great enhancements lately.


Screenshot Of The Heart Surgeon Finder


In addition to giving the site a new look-and-feel, we have begun embedding surgeon videos throughout the website. That way, you can learn more about heart valve surgeons via interviews, patient success stories, clinical research and operating room observations.

Also, if you would like to help expand this educational effort… Please, please consider adding your own surgeon experience to the database. That’s right! If you are a former patient, you can help! Simply click here to learn more. (It only takes 5 minutes.)

Keep on tickin!

Don’t Miss Barbara Walters’ Heart Surgery Special: A Matter of Life & Death!

By Adam Pick on February 4, 2011

Thanks to Becky, I just learned that Barbara Walters is hosting a special program about heart surgery titled, “A Matter of Life & Death”. The show will air on ABC at 10pm (EST), Friday, February 4.


Robin Williams and Barbara Walters After Heart Surgery
Robin Williams & Barbara Walters – Heart Valve Surgery Patients


Guests scheduled to appear on the show include:

  • Former President Bill Clinton had a coronary artery bypass graft procedure (CABG).
  • Actor / Comedian Robin Williams had aortic and mitral valve surgery.
  • TV host David Letterman had a CABG.
  • TV host Regis Philbin had a CABG.
  • TV host Charlie Rose had heart valve surgery.


If you didn’t know, Barbara Walters had aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery last May. To learn more about AVR, click here.

Needless to say, our DVR is already set to record this very special show!!!

Keep on tickin!

“Can Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Surgery Occur With An Aneurysm Of The Ascending Aorta?” By Dr. Richard J. Shemin

By Adam Pick on February 2, 2011

I am very excited to introduce the first of several “Surgeon Video Blogs” that were filmed at the 47th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting earlier this week.

In this video, Dr. Richard J. Shemin, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA Medical Center, responds to Barbara’s question, “Can minimally invasive aortic valve surgery occur if there is an aneurysm of the ascending aorta?”



Continue reading this post »

Holy Moly! The 47th Annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons Convention!

By Adam Pick on February 2, 2011

Five years after heart valve surgery, I find myself taking incredible steps on this journey of patient education, patient research and patient empowerment.

Last February, I was encouraged to exhibit at the annual meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. During a tour of the East Carolina Heart Institute, Dr. Randolph Chitwood said to me, “Adam – You’re doing some great work. You should go to STS so the other surgeons can learn about your book and websites.”


Me and Monica (My Sister) After Setting Up Our Booth


Continue reading this post »

“Any Questions For The World’s Leading Heart Valve Surgeons?” Asks Adam

By Adam Pick on January 28, 2011

Exciting news everybody!!!

I wanted you all to know that I am driving to San Diego, California for the 47th annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons convention. Over the next few days, I’ll be meeting with several leading heart valve surgeons including Dr. Gillinov, Dr. Accola, Dr. Chitwood, Dr. Adams, Dr. Pettersson, Dr. Ad, Dr. Stewart, Dr. Roselli and many others. In total, I’ve heard that over 1,500 surgeons attend STS each year.


Question For Surgeons


Continue reading this post »

“What About A Post-Operative Cough Following Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Rob

By Adam Pick on January 21, 2011

I recently received an interesting question from Rob about a post-operative cough following heart valve surgery.

Rob writes, “Adam, My wife — Gail — recently had a valve sparing aortic valve repair and had an artificial aorta. Gail has had a post-operative cough for about 5 days now.  Is this common? Are there any remedies to help it along? Thanks for all you do! Rob”


Patient Coughing Following Surgery


To ensure that Rob received an expert response to his question, I contacted Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a leading heart valve surgeon from Portland, Oregon.

During his 20+ year career, Dr. Swanson has performed over 3,000 heart valve procedures at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. (Not only is Dr. Swanson a highly-recommended surgeon – from many visitors of this website – he’s a very nice guy as well.)


Dr. Jeffrey Swanson – Heart Valve Surgeon, Portland, Oregon


Continue reading this post »

After Ross Procedure, John Keeps On Tickin’ And… Rockin’

By Adam Pick on January 17, 2011

It’s always fun to hear from patients as they recover from heart valve surgery and return to their life passions. Today, I received a fantastic email from John Coleman in Arkansas. John writes:

Adam –  At 43 years old I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. Like you, I elected to have the

Ross Procedure, a double valve replacement, in August, 2010 here in Arkansas. I read your book prior to surgery. It was really helpful in getting my mind and body prepared for the surgery and the recovery.



Continue reading this post »

Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic To Host “Ask The Heart Surgeon” Chat On February 7; Registration Now Open

By Adam Pick on January 13, 2011

Great news everybody!

I just learned that Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic, a leading heart valve surgeon from The Cleveland Clinic, will host a live Internet chat on February 7, 2011. During the event, titled “Ask The Heart Surgeon”, Dr. Mihaljevic will answer your questions about cardiac surgery — including surgical techniques, minimally invasive surgery, off-pump bypass, and robotically assisted procedures. The online session will begin at 12pm EST and registration is now open.


Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic Internet Chat - Latest Treatments In Cardiac Surgery


I think this is a very special opportunity to chat with Dr. Mihaljevic as many members of our community, including Ashish Yaduka (mitral valve repair) and Anne Shannon (minimally invasive aortic valve replacement), have had excellent surgical results with Dr. Mihaljevic.

Again, the event is scheduled for Monday, February 7 at 12pm (EST).

I hope this helps!

Keep on tickin!

An Extraordinary Response To Ruth’s Question, “What About Mitral Valve Repair Of A Prolapsed Anterior Leaflet?”

By Adam Pick on January 4, 2011

I recently received an anxious email from Ruth about mitral valve repair. Ruth writes to me, “I would like to learn more about a prolapsed ANTERIOR leaflet of the mitral valve. I have been told that repair may not be possible. I am terrified… Do you have any information on the risks involved with this type of repair? Thanks, Ruth”

Considering the urgent nature of Ruth’s question, I contacted Dr. David H. Adams — a leading mitral valve repair surgeon from The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. What happened next is quite extraordinary… First, Dr. Adams quickly responded to Ruth with a comforting email. Then, Dr. Adams created a 22-minute video to help patients better understand this type of mitral valve surgery.



Continue reading this post »

The Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs Of 2010!

By Adam Pick on December 31, 2010

During 2010, this global community of patients and caregivers actively discussed many topics that impacted our own, heart valve surgery experiences. That said, I just reviewed all 179 posts from 2010 to determine the “Top 10 Heart Valve Surgery Blogs of 2010”.

To develop this list, I used several factors including web traffic reports, your comments and your emails. As you might imagine, this was more difficult than expected. Similar to last year, we even had a tie.


So… Without further ado, here are the top ten heart valve surgery blogs of 2010:

10. The importance of second opinions and patient advocacy, revealed by Anne Shannon from Colorado, propelled “Remote Second Opinion Changes Anne’s Surgical Approach” to the tenth spot on our list.


Anne Shannon - Heart Valve Replacement Patient


9. We were, once again, perplexed by the lack of awareness to the patient benefits derived from cardiac rehabilitation programs — given a September, 2010 report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. That said, “Patient Concern: Cardiac Rehab Referrals Continue To Disappoint” arrives in the ninth position on our list.


8. The on-air announcement of Barbara Walters’ aortic valve replacement surgery resulted in an immediate traffic spike the moment we posted “Barbara Walters Recovering From Heart Valve Surgery”.



7.  Thanks to an email from Shirley, “Incision Site or Full Body Shave?” became a very active blog as we evaluated different patient experiences specific to this pre-operating room event.


6. An inspirational patient story about Ken rocketed “From Stroke… To Heart Valve Replacement… To The Gym” to the sixth spot on our list.

Continue reading this post »

Newest Community Post

Octavio says, "Hi everyone! I just had the Ross"
Read more

Andrea says, "Has anyone else named their new heart"
Read more

Kristen says, "I'm having OHS next week (Ross Procedure"
Read more

Find Heart Valve Surgeons

Search 1,500 patient-recommended surgeons