Written By: Adam Pick – Patient, Author & HeartValveSurgery.com Founder
Medical Experts: Dr. Marc Gerdisch, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Franciscan Health, and Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Medicine
Page last updated: December 21, 2020
If you have been diagnosed with heart valve disease, here’s a really important fact to know…
According to Dr. Marc Gerdisch, the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Franciscan Health, up to 35% of patients with heart valve disease also suffer from atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm.
By Adam Pick on December 20, 2020
As valve disease progresses from mild to moderate to severe, there may come a time that patients hear something like this from their cardiologist, “After looking at your last echocardiogram, it appears the valve has gotten worse. Unfortunately, it is now time to start planning surgery to repair or replace your valve.”
A flood of emotions can impact the patient in that moment. As a patient, I distinctly remember being scared and confused about the next steps. I even began to question my cardiologist as I didn’t really have any symptoms. “I’m not sure my cardiologist is right,” I remember telling my mom. “I feel fine.”
By Adam Pick on December 18, 2020
By Adam Pick on December 14, 2020
I don’t know about you… But, when I was first diagnosed with severe heart valve disease, I had no idea what a heart valve looked like. I really didn’t even know what my heart valves did. All I knew was that I was diagnosed with a heart murmur when I was five years old. That’s about it.
The more I researched my disease and my treatment options, the more I became fascinated by heart valve structures, function and disfunction. It turned out that I had a bicuspid aortic valve. Two of my aortic valve flaps (or cusps) had fused together during pregnancy. While a normal aortic valve is tricuspid, with three valve cusps, I was born with two. That’s why it’s called a bicuspid valve. As a result, my aortic valve suffered from both aortic stenosis (a narrow valve) and aortic regurgitation (a leaky valve).
By Adam Pick on December 10, 2020
In case you missed it…
New research by the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that deaths due to mitral valve regurgitation in the United States have increased during the past six years after fourteen years of ongoing declines.
Patients with mitral regurgitation have a leaky heart valve which forces the heart to work “over-time” to re-pump blood into the body. The condition can cause patients to feel tired, short-of-breath, dizzy and experience chest pain. It is also important to note that patients can have severe mitral regurgitation and no symptoms.
By Adam Pick on December 9, 2020
This was unexpected!
Many thanks to MedCity News for posting my “op-ed” about the management and treatment of heart valve disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. The title of the article is, “Cardiac Patients Can’t Wait On Care During COVID-19”.
As you may know, I’ve been doing my best to help the patients in our community navigate this difficult time with educational articles, videos and patient stories during COVID-19. Here are several stories I posted at HeartValveSurgery.com about COVID-19 and heart valve disease.
By Adam Pick on November 12, 2020
[Update: The webinar, held on November 18, was fantastic!!! You can now download the free eBook or watch the webinar video at this link.]
I’m excited to announce that our LIVE and FREE patient education events continue next Wednesday, November 18, with a special “Advantages of the Ross Procedure” webinar. Featured speakers include Dr. Paul Stelzer, Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, who has performed over 700 Ross Procedures, and Dr. Ismail El-Hamamsy, Director of Aortic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, who has performed over 500 Ross Procedures.
Space is limited to the first one hundred patient registrants.
By Adam Pick on November 5, 2020
I recently posted some great new stories and educational videos over at the Heart Valve Learning Center. To ensure you saw them, here’s a quick list of the Top 5 stories that generated over 20,000 social media shares.
By Adam Pick on October 22, 2020
I think you and I would agree that 2020 has been brutal. First, a pandemic. Then, economic fall-out. Riots. Fires. A chaotic presidential election here in America. It doesn’t seem to stop.
During these difficult times, I look for just about anything to conjure good feelings for my wife (who lost her job), my son (who spends 7 hours a days on Zoom), our family, friends, and the patients in our community (who are fighting a war against heart valve disease).
So… When I saw the picture below…
By Adam Pick on October 13, 2020
[October 19, 2020 Update: Thanks so much to the HeartValveSurgery.com patient community for responding to this survey. We have received many more survey responses than expected and, as a result, are not accepting any more survey responses. To participate in future patient surveys, sign up to our newsletter at this link.]
[November 5, 2020 Update: Great news! The survey results were just posted in a special report. Click here to download the free report.]
Can I ask you a quick favor?
I’ve received lots of great questions about clinical trials for heart valve disease. To help patients, I want to learn how I can better educate patients about clinical trials. That said, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Click here to take the survey!
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on October 7, 2020
How far will the wonderful patients in our community go to inspire one another?
Well… I’d say that Jerome Hill, a bicuspid aortic valve patient, can provide a visual answer to that question. Here’s Jerome, just a few hours after aortic valve replacement surgery, flashing you a “Thumbs-Up!” from the intensive care unit.
Jerome Hill, Heart Valve Surgery Patient
By Adam Pick on October 2, 2020
When I see a patient picture like this come across my community newsfeed, I stop what I’m doing.
Thanks to Lee’s wonderful photo – taken just before she was discharged from the hospital – the corner of my lips turned up and a fantastic smile stretched across my face. Today instantly fills with happiness.
By Adam Pick on October 1, 2020
As you may have seen here, I had HeartValveSurgery.com face masks made for my family to help protect us during the COVID-19 pandemic. When ordering the masks, there was a significant price decrease if you purchased more masks. So, I bought 10 extra masks for the wonderful people in our community. Last Friday, I gave away the masks to 10 patients.
In response to the HVS mask giveaway, I received a wonderful email from Robin Hayes, a heart valves surgery patient, earlier today.
Robin Hayes – Heart Valve Surgery Patient
By Adam Pick on September 25, 2020
UPDATE: UNFORTUNATELY, ALL OF THE FREE MASKS ARE NOW GONE!!!! I AM SO SORRY IF YOU DID NOT GET ONE!!!!
WOW!!! THOSE WENT FAST!!!! WE MAY MAKE MORE!!! STAY TUNED!!!
Not sure if you are interested…
But, I recently saw a website that makes custom masks with logos on it. I thought it was neat idea. And, I thought it would be fun to make a few masks for Robyn, my wife, and Ethan, my son. During the ordering process, there was a pretty good price decrease if I bought more masks. So, I bought a few extra masks to see if anybody in our community wants one for free!
By Adam Pick on September 8, 2020
In case you missed it… I was recently interviewed by Linda Burhans from the “Connecting Caregivers” radio show.
As you may know, Connecting Caregivers is wonderful effort that Linda started to help caregivers supporting friends and family members with health issues. During our discussion, we discussed several important topics related to heart valve disease including the Active Living Initiative, our survey results from 3,000 patients, the realities of valvular disorders and new treatment options.
By Adam Pick on August 26, 2020
So you know… Medtronic and Abbott, two leading heart valve manufacturers, just did something special. In this difficult and trying time, Medtronic and Abbott joined forces to co-sponsor our “Advances in COVID-19 & Heart Valve Therapy” webinar. Over 630 patients registered for this educational event.
Patient Webinar: “Advances in COVID-19 & Heart Valve Therapy” with Dr. Chikwe, Dr. Burkle, John & Me
By Adam Pick on August 20, 2020
[Update: Great news! The “Advances in COVID-19 & Heart Valve Therapy” webinar held on August 27, 2020 was an extraordinary success with 287 patients connected in real-time. You can now download a free eBook or watch the video recording of the webinar at this link.]
I’m excited to share that our LIVE and FREE patient education events continue next Thursday, August 27, with a special “Advances in COVID-19 & Heart Valve Therapy” webinar. Featured speakers include Dr. Joanna Chikwe, Chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery in the Smidt Heart Institute of Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Jaime Burkle, Clinical Manager of the Piedmont Heart Perimeter Office, and John Roland, a heart valve patient treated during COVID-19.
By Adam Pick on August 17, 2020
It never gets old. The joy. The happiness. That special feeling when I open my email and see a patient success story from the HeartValveSurgery.com community.
This time… Tapan Mehta, from Northern California, brought a smile to my face. As he approaches his fifth anniversary after heart valve surgery, here is what Tapan wrote to me:
By Adam Pick on August 11, 2020
Sometimes… It’s hard to imagine that anything good can come from COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has cast an undeniable darkness upon our planet with 20+ million infections and 737 thousand deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
In difficult and trying times, I often reflect upon one of my favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. The quote is, “In the midst of death, life persists. In the midst of untruth, truth persists. In the midst of darkness, light persists.”
By Adam Pick on August 8, 2020
Unexpected! Many, many, many thanks to Bill Martinez for interviewing me about the findings from our new survey of 3,400 patients and caregivers.
We also talked about the new “Active Living” patient awareness campaign, aortic stenosis (AS), minimally-invasive therapies (like TAVR), and the misconceptions about AS and heart valve surgery. In case you missed it, here is a playback of my interview on the “Bill Martinez Live” show which is nationally-syndicated across 280 cities in the United States.