Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 51

After Bicuspid Valve Replacement And Root Repair, It’s Softball Season For Kevin

By Adam Pick on April 25, 2009

Anyone interested in a patient success story that smells of 100% inspiration?

If so, read this wonderful story about Kevin Hains which addresses soooooooo many patient issues specific to heart valve surgery. Here is what Kevin wrote to me:

Adam,

I am 39-years old and had aortic valve replacement and aortic root repair surgery on October 27, 2008. I had a heavily calcified bicuspid valve.

Due to my age, I opted for a mechanical valve. My adjustment to Coumadin has been very smooth.  It is amazing what the body will endure!  After surgery, I spent 2 1/2 months in Cardiac Rehab and I have been at the gym four to five days a week since.  I am in law enforcement, am an active athlete and have played sports my entire life.

 

Kevin Hains - Heart Valve Surgery Patient Whe Enjoys Softball
Kevin Hains – Heart Valve Surgery Patient

 
Continue reading this post »

“Close To My Heart” Project Looking For Female Heart Surgery Patients

By Adam Pick on April 25, 2009

I just received this very unique request from Angelica Hoyos. Is anyone interested?

Here is what Angelica writes, “I am a photographer in Los Angeles and I am currently working on a project which consists of creating artistic portraits of women who have had heart surgery under the age of 40.  The purpose of the project is to leave women feeling that the scar on their chest is nothing to be ashamed about. I am working in collaboration with the American Heart Association.”

If you would like to learn more, please call Angelica at 954.665.3850, or visit http://soclosetomyheart.wordpress.com.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

How Does Blood Flow Through The Heart?

By Adam Pick on April 24, 2009

Have you ever wondered how blood flows through the heart and body?

Have you ever wondered how your heart valves help manage the flow of blood through your heart?

If so, click the play button on this educational video to learn (i) how blood flows through the heart and (ii) how each heart valve (aortic valve, mitral valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve) ensure the flow of blood in one direction through the body.  Please remember to have the sound on your computer turned on.

 

 

To learn more about the topics referenced in this video, please click the hyperlinks below:

I hope you enjoyed this video about blood flow through the heart.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

After Valve Surgery, Infection And Coma, Steve Hits 175 Miles Per Hour… Once Again!

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2009

I’ve said it before and I will say it again…

There is nothing better than turning on my computer, opening my email inbox and reading an inspirational, patient success story from one of my readers. This morning, I learned about Steve’s recovery from heart valve replacement surgery which was complicated by an infection and six days in a coma.

 


Steve Returns To Racing After Heart Valve Replacement

 

Here is what Steve writes:

Hi Adam – I do not know whether this will actually get to you but thank you for your book and blog. I received a homograft aortic valve in early 2006 due to a post-Hurricane Katrina contracted infection. I am from New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Heart Surgery, Pregnancy, Labor And Baby Delivery… Can You Help Shannon?

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2009

I recently received a very interesting email from Shannon about heart surgery, pregnancy, labor and baby delivery. In her note to me, Shannon asks for help from other patients about delivering a baby after heart valve surgery. Can you help her?

 

 

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Off-Topic: A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2009

Every once-in-a-while I receive a forwarded email that resets my focus on life.

Earlier today, my sister, Monica, sent me an email titled, “A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers”. Given the nature of this website, I found the fundamental message of this story to be very appropriate for those dealing with the stress of heart valve surgery.

So, without further ado, I offer you “A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers”:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

 

 

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

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Does A Heart Valve Heal Itself?

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2009

Kenny writes to me, “Hi Adam – My grandma needs open heart surgery, according to my parents. They tell me she has mitral regurgitation and it’s really bad. I’m curious to know, “Can a heart valve heal itself?”.  What do you think? Kenny”

I really wish a simple and emphatic ‘Yes!’ would answer Kenny’s question. It would be sooooooooo incredibly wonderful if a heart valve could heal itself – like a cold or a broken bone.

 

 

Unfortunately, heart valves do not tend to heal themselves. It is true that some infants born with heart murmurs will eventually grow out of the murmur as the heart matures. But, in all of my research, I have yet to hear, read or see a patient story in which a valvular disorder (e.g. aortic valve stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral valve regurgitation) naturally heals by itself.

Some might suggest that the use of stem cells could offer a natural process in which a human heart valve can heal itself. However, from my research, that would require a stem cell valve cloning and an open heart procedure to replace the valve. In my opinion, that process doesn’t really sound like a situation in which a human heart valve heals itself.

I hope this helps Kenny (and perhaps you) learn more about the question, “Does a heart valve heal itself?”

Keep on tickin!
Adam

"Do You Have Before-And-After Pictures Of Your Chest?" Asks Jake

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2009

I just received an interesting email from Jake.

He writes, “Adam – I’m 57 and going in for mitral valve repair next week due to mitral prolapse. It’s going to be an open heart surgery. I’m curious, do you have any pictures of your chest before-and-after surgery? I’m not really a pretty boy, I just want to know what to expect when I wake up. Thanks, Jake”

In my opinion, Jake is asking the right type of questions as he prepares for surgery. As I learned, expectation management is critical for both patients and caregivers throughout the surgical process – especially the recovery. That said, I just searched my picture albums for Jake.

Ding! Ding! Ding! I found some!!!

Below, you can see the impact of open heart surgery on my chest. The amazing part? You can barely even tell that I had a median sternotomy. But, you can tell that I have gained a few pounds over the years.

 

 

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Heart Trivia: How Many Times Will Your Heart Beat During Your Life?

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2009

Time for a fun, multiple choice question about your heart’s anatomy! Here it is…

“How many times will the human heart beat during the average lifetime of 66 years?”

  • A. 5 million times
  • B. 200 million times
  • C. 1 billion times
  • D. 2.5 billion times
  • E. 5 billion times.

The answer to the question is below the beating heart animation. Scroll down to find out whether you are right or wrong.

D. 2.5 billion times

I hope you enjoyed this quick little game of heart trivia.

Keep on tickin!
Adam

“Vitamins After Heart Surgery?” Asks Mario

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2009

Mario just wrote to me, “Hey Adam, my name is Mario Luera (age: 33) and I had aortic valve replacement in October, 2008. I am recovering well and just finished my cardiac rehab. I’m about to start on a workout program. My question to you is what type of vitamins/ supplements are you taking and what to stay away from? My cardiologist told me to just take a multivitamin everyday. Thanks for your time! Mario”

As I previously wrote in “Do Vitamins Combat Fatigue After Heart Surgery”, I really struggled with energy issues following my double, heart valve replacement. I was exhausted all the time.

 

Karen Raden – My Nutritionist

 

So, I contacted a highly-regarded nutritionist, Karen Raden, to help enhance my energy level. After a blood test and consultation, Karen suggested three specific vitamins and supplements to reduce my fatigue.

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Off-Topic: Stop… And Smell My Roses

By Adam Pick on April 15, 2009

Following heart valve surgery, I learned to slowwwwwww down.

However, given my career and my goals, this wasn’t easy. In fact, at times, it was downright miserable.

One hobby I picked up to help me “slow down” was gardening… More specifically, roses.

Although I’m still learning lots about how to properly grow roses, I’m having the time of my life now that the Spring season is here. Here you can see some of my early bloomers.

 

 

Here’s another one:

 

 

I took this picture earlier today:
 

 

And, the last one:
 

 

Remember… Slow down… Take it easy… And, of course, “Stop to smell the roses!”

Keep on tickin!
Adam

After Double Heart Valve Surgery And Aortic Root Repair, Jonathan Smiles In Traffic

By Adam Pick on April 11, 2009

Talk about an incredible, patient attitude towards heart valve surgery? I thought all of you might appreciate reading about Jonathan Abramson… Here is Jonathan’s story:

Hi Adam,

I am 29 years old and just had my second heart surgery.  I was born with a congenital diseased aorta. Growing up, this never affected my lifestyle.  I was always a very active person and played sports in high school. After college in 2002, I had a mechanical aortic valve replacement. Everything was fine, until a few years later when a routine echo discovered a 5.7cm aortic aneurysm that was partially caused by my initial mechanical valve being too small for my body.

 

Jonathan Abramson After Heart Valve Surgery Recovery
Jonathan Abramson – Double Heart Valve Surgery Patient

 

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Introducing… Ethan Bradley Pick

By Adam Pick on April 8, 2009

You may have noticed that my blog postings about heart valve surgery have stopped over the past five days.

Well… There is a good, 7.6 pound reason for that!

My son, Ethan Bradley Pick, was born Saturday at 5:29am. Ethan is the first child for Robyn, my wife, and me. Needless to say, we are rapidly adjusting to the parenting role – an outpouring of love and appreciation for every little thing he does including burps, wiggles, hiccups, stretches, coos, yawns, poops, toots… I could go on and on and on. So far, the lack of sleep is an easy trade-off for the love we have for our little boy.

 

Ethan Bradley Pick As A Baby
Ethan Bradley Pick – Born April 4, 2009

 

Thanks so much for all of your thoughtful support during our pregnancy. As we consider all of you an extended part of our family, I have attached a few pictures which capture Ethan’s entry into this world.

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After Delayed Stroke, Jeff Gets Recovery Back On Track

By Adam Pick on March 31, 2009

As a follow-up to an earlier blog about stroke and heart surgery (see “Is Stroke A Risk During Heart Surgery?“), I just received this patient update from Jeff. You can tell that Jeff’s positive attitude is going to help him throughout his recovery. Here is what he writes:

Hi Adam,

My name is Jeff Stoveken and I am 46 years old.  I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve at age 40.  It was discovered during a routine physical when my doctor heard a murmur.  It was confirmed with an echocardiogram.

 


Jeff Stoveken – Heart Valve Surgery Patient

 

In August of 2008, during a visit to the emergency room for some chest pains, I was diagnosed with a five centimeter aortic aneurysm. One month later I had my valve replaced, along with a section of my aorta containing the aneurysm, by Dr. John Brown, III at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey.  I have a St. Jude’s Mechanical valve.

Continue reading this post »

In Memory Of George Soldan… And, His Durable Aortic Pig Valve

By Adam Pick on March 30, 2009

I often tell patients that heart valve surgery should be perceived as a medical miracle.

“Why?” you may be wondering.

Well, it is through valvular surgery that many, many, many, many of us will live longer, healthier lives. My readers constantly reinforce this belief. These days, it seems as if every time I click my inbox, I receive an inspirational, patient story relating to valve repair or valve replacement.

Interesting Case In Point… George Soldan

 


George Soldan – Heart Valve Surgery Patient In 1976

 

The story of George Soldan was just sent to me by Sharon, his daughter. I thought you might enjoy learning about the positive impact of a pig valve replacement surgery performed in 1976… over 32 years ago.

Here is what Sharon writes:

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OFF-TOPIC: Baby Pick Is Almost Here!!!

By Adam Pick on March 30, 2009

Thanks so much for your emails about the anticipated arrival of Baby Pick.

If you didn’t know… Robyn, my very pregnant wife, and I wife are expecting our first child, a baby boy, to arrive somewhere around April 13. As you would imagine, we are incredibly excited and somewhat nervous.

Robyn and I have been “nesting” like crazy. Everyday now, I’m assembling something for the little guy. First, the stroller. Then, his swing. Then, his car seat. Then, some furniture. Then, some more furniture. Then, it was time to hang the shelves. It doesn’t stop!

The best part is… Robyn and I are having A LOT of fun getting the nursery all set up.

 


Robyn – After We Assembled The Stroller

 

As for classes, we just finished our breastfeeding class last night. And, we recently finished our birthing class. To be safe, we also took an infant CPR class.

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Dr. Craig Miller Performs Successful Aortic Valve Surgery On Aaron Boone

By Adam Pick on March 30, 2009

Good news!

Houston Astros’ infielder Aaron Boone had successful aortic valve repair and root replacement surgery last Thursday. The operation was performed by doctor Dr. Craig Miller in Palo Alto, California at Stanford Medical Center.

 

Aaron Boone - Aortic Valve Surgery By Dr. Craig Miler
Aaron Boone – Heart Valve Surgery Patient

 

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After Aortic Valve Replacement, Mavis Shares Four Heart Surgery Lessons

By Adam Pick on March 27, 2009

Here’s an interesting email I just received from Mavis. Nine weeks after heart valve replacement, Mavis has created four, key “heart valve surgery lessons” to share with our community. Here is what she writes:

Hello Adam,

My aortic valve replacement is 9 weeks behind me!  My follow up visit to the cardiologist and surgeon have reassured me that my tissue valve will probably last longer than I will (I am 67), that my chest is healing normally, that I’m not going to die, and life will eventually be better than before.

 


Mavis – Nine Weeks After Heart Valve Replacement

 

There were a couple of things that, prior to my surgery, would have fallen into the category of “things I really don’t want to know” but with hindsight, I wish now I had.  I hope they will be useful for your readers who are anticipating open heart surgery.

Things I wish I had known:

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“What Is Life Like On Coumadin?” Asks Mary Anne

By Adam Pick on March 27, 2009

Use of Coumadin for patients that select a mechanical valve replacement is typically required to prevent blood clots. As a result, many pre-surgical patients considering a mechanical valve (versus a tissue valve) often wonder, “What is life like on Coumadin?”

In the last 24 hours, I have received this question from 5 different patients and two caregivers. One of those patients thinking about Coumadin and mechanical valves is Mary Anne.

 

 

 

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Pig Valve Replacement Humor… Thanks Kerrigan!

By Adam Pick on March 27, 2009

I’m not a fan of overused cliches. However, if there is one cliche I never get tired of it is, “Laughter is the best form of medicine.”

That said, Kerrigan just sent me this pig valve replacement cartoon that got a good chuckle out of me. Without further ado, I hope this injects some laughter medicine into your veins:

 

Pig Valve Cartoon

 

Keep on tickin’ and laughin!!!
Adam

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