Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 52

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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Special Announcement: Our $5,000 Donation To Gift Of Life!!!

By Adam Pick on March 31, 2010

Since starting this website four years ago, my primary objective was to help future patients and caregivers understand the challenges, opportunities and realities of heart valve surgery.


Patient & Author, Adam Pick, Donates $5,000 To Gift of Life


Today, I am very excited to share another objective for this work – helping children with heart problems. That said, earlier today, we made a $5,000 donation to the Gift of Life charity.

So you know… In 2008, I was introduced to Gift of Life when Shanna Andrews, a teenager desperately needing aortic valve replacement, emailed me asking for help.

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Guided Imagery Helps Sam Prepare For Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on March 24, 2010

As we have learned together, there are several strategies and tactics that patients can use to best prepare for their heart valve surgery. Specific to this point, I just received an insightful email from Sam Swerdlow about using guided imagery CDs prior to surgery. Here is what Sam wrote:


Saw Swerdlow Uses Guided Imagery CDs Before Aortic Valve Replacement
Sam Swerdlow, Heart Valve Replacement Patient, & Slater


Hi Adam,

I wanted to let you know of something very awesome that has happened to me. As I have emailed you before, I have been preparing for my aortic valve replacement by listening to meditation and guided imagery cds.

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“How Do Tissue Heart Valve Replacements Open And Close?” Asks Mary Anne

By Adam Pick on March 23, 2010

I just received a great question from Mary Anne about heart valve anatomy. Specifically, she is interested to learn more about valvular function within the heart.

Mary Anne writes, “Dear Adam – I was recently diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation. As an active 67-year old grandmother, this has been a difficult time – especially since I’m asymptomatic. However, my heart is already dilated so I’m preparing for surgery. Quick question… If the surgeon can’t repair the valve, I’m thinking about a tissue valve replacement. Do you have any videos that show how tissue heart valves open-and-close? Thanks, Mary Anne”

So you know, I had this exact question prior to my aortic valve replacement surgery. I remember thinking, “How do heart valves replacements work? How do the heart valve leaflets seal?”

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“Looking Back To See How Far I’ve Come” By Amy Machtay

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2010

I recently launched a new section of this website called Heart Valve Journals. This interactive tool was designed to help patients, families and friends communicate before-and-after heart surgery. Already, several hundred people have signed up for this free service.


Amy Machtay - East Carolina Heart Institute
Amy Machtay – Mitral Valve Repair Patient


One of those patients is Amy Machtay from Raleigh, North Carolina. Amy created her own Heart Valve Journal just before minimally invasive, mitral valve repair surgery last month. For me, reading Amy’s journals, seeing her pictures, and reviewing her Guestbook, has been inspirational.

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After Mitral Valve Repair, Ashish Gets Past Constipation To Feel “Endless Love”

By Adam Pick on March 20, 2010

It feels great to wake up, turn on the computer, click my inbox and open a patient success story.

That said, this is the story of Ashish (Ash) from Indiana. Ash just had robotic mitral valve repair a few days ago. Here are the details:


Ashish – Mitral Valve Repair Patient


Hi Adam,

I had a successful robotic assisted mitral valve repair performed at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic on Wednesday, March 10, 2009. I was in the intensive care unit for less than twenty-four hours. Then, I was in a step-down room for two days. In total, I was in the hospital for four days.

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Mitral Valve Regurgitation Diagnostic Tool From The Cleveland Clinic

By Adam Pick on March 17, 2010

Hi everybody,

I just received a note from the Patient Education Team at the Cleveland Clinic about a new, online tool for patients with mitral valve regurgitation. The tool is pretty neat for learning about mitral valve regurgitation, the severity of mitral regurgitation, echocardiogram results, ejection fractions, heart dilation and atrial fibrillation.


Mitral Valve Regurgitation Tool By Cleveland Clinic


Ultimately, this new Mitral Regurgitation Tool uses a series of interactive questions to determine whether-or-not you are currently a candidate for surgery. The tool leverages the current guidelines of the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology in determining your situation.

If you would like to use the tool, click here.

Keep on tickin!

Patient Spotlight: After Ups And Downs, Beverly Simmons Turns 83 In The Hospital

By Adam Pick on March 12, 2010

I just wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to Beverly Simmons of Fullerton, California, as she continues her early recovery at St. Jude’s hospital.

For those of you who have not visited Bev’s Heart Valve Journal yet, she had aortic valve replacement – using a pig (porcine) valve – on February 16, 2010. (Bev suffered from aortic stenosis.)


Beverly Simmons - Aortic Valve Replacement Patient
Beverly Simmons, 83, Heart Valve Replacement Patient


Although Bev, who celebrated her 83rd birthday in the hospital, recently received a “clean bill of health” from her doctors, the past few weeks have been filled with several ups and downs – including an emergency room visit days after her surgery.

That said, thanks to all of you who have posted over 275 comments in Bev’s Guestbook. I know she appreciates reading your words of encouragement and love.

To learn more about her unique story, please visit Bev’s Heart Valve Journal and her Guestbook.

Keep on tickin’ Bev!

Surgeon Interview: Dr. Niv Ad Discusses Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on March 10, 2010

Over the years, I have interacted with many patients that suffer from atrial fibrillation and heart valve diseases including aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation. To learn more about atrial fibrillation and heart valve disease, I contacted Dr. Niv Ad, a leading cardiac surgeon at White Oak Medical Center in Takoma Park. Here are the highlights from our very interesting discussion:


Dr. Niv Ad - Cardiac Surgeon, Inova Health System
Dr. Niv Ad


Adam: Thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today. I’d like to ask you a couple questions about atrial fibrillation and heart valve disorders.

Dr. Niv Ad: Thanks Adam for raising awareness to this very important topic.

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