Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 74

Prayer Before Heart Surgery: My PF Chang’s Experience

By Adam Pick on January 29, 2008

So you know…. I am not the best when it comes to organized religion.

I would say that I am more spiritual than religious. I do believe there are higher powers that tie us all together. And, I do believe the molecular meatpack, we call our body, offers us a special opportunity to create something meaningful during the seventy or eighty years that most of us traverse the Earth.

Okay. I just wanted to make sure you knew where I was coming from before I dive head-first into the topic of prayer before heart surgery.



Religion, Prayer & Heart Surgery

Just before my aortic valve replacement, my Uncle Marc advised me that prayer before surgery was not a bad idea. Marc is more than an uncle to me. Marc is a mentor in many aspects of my life.

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How To Interview Your Potential Heart Surgeon?

By Adam Pick on January 28, 2008

As you may be learning or have already learned…

Finding your surgeon is a critical process that requires due diligence and, at times, tenacity. That said, there are many tactics you can use to locate and select the right heart valve surgeon for you.

In my opinion, one key ingredient in the surgeon selection process is the heart surgeon interview. Personally, I interviewed several heart valve surgeons prior to picking Dr. Vaughn Starnes for my aortic valve replacement.


Interviewing Your Potential Heart Surgeon


Recently, I was reading the Wall Street Journal when I came across an interesting article about the challenges of asking surgeons tough questions.

This article was appropriately titled Asking Your Surgeon The Tough Questions. It’s a pretty good article that provides some interesting thoughts and references, so I linked over to it for your review (if you like).

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Guest Blog: Debbie Hurd, Six Weeks After Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on January 28, 2008

I will be the first to admit… The rewards from publishing this blog and my book are more positive than anything I have ever experienced before.

Actually, it is a privilege to help patients and their caregivers through their heart valve repair or valve replacement surgery experience.

That said, I recently received an email from Debbie Hurd. Debbie is now six weeks post-surgery. As you can read below, Debbie is doing very well even though she has experienced some patient complications following heart surgery.


Debbie Hurd - Heart Valve Surgery Patient


Still, Debbie’s attitude is positive and her will is strong. I found her words insightful, so with her approval, I have posted them here for us all to consider and learn from.

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Aortic Root And Aortic Valve Replacement – Taylor Shares Lots Of Good Information

By Adam Pick on January 24, 2008

This is just great.

Earlier today, JD emailed me several questions about aortic root and aortic valve replacement. As many of you know, I did not have aortic root replacement (I had the Ross Procedure), so I couldn’t really comment on all of JD’s questions.

However, a friend of mine, Taylor Browning, had an aortic root and an aortic valve replacement in 2007. That said, I forwarded JD’s questions over to Taylor.


Diagram Of The Aorta


Wow! Talk about a response! Taylor went above-and-beyond the call of duty to support J.D. as he prepares for surgery. First, I will post JD’s email and then I will post Taylor’s reply about about this unique, heart valve surgery that Taylor personally experienced just one year ago.

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True or False: I Lost My Job Because Of Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on January 23, 2008

Yesterday, I received a fearful email from Janice – a very concerned caregiver and mother. Janice’s daughter is preparing for heart valve surgery.

In her email, Janice noted that her daughter is planning on returning to work just 3-4 weeks after surgery. She also noted that her daughter is nervous that she might lose her job because of the medical leave-of-absence.

I wasted no time in immediately responding to Janice for several reasons:

First, I have been through double heart valve replacement. That said, I know that the recovery from cardiac surgery should not and can not be rushed. Healing is a very personal and individual process.


Survey About Returning To Work After Heart Surgery


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Your Cardiovascular Disease Treatment – Best Hospitals And Best Surgeon Research

By Adam Pick on January 22, 2008

I’m not sure about you…

But, as I prepared for my heart valve surgery, one of the many critical questions I wanted to answer was, “Which are the best heart care facilities?” and “Who are the best heart valve surgeons?”



I did ALOT of research on the topic of cardiovascular disease treatment – best hospitals and surgeons. (So you know, I consider heart valve disease in the realm of cardiovascular disorders although others may consider the term isolate to arteries and veins.)

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Aloha! Now, Sunblock Your Chest Scar Incision!

By Adam Pick on January 22, 2008

One of my readers / friends, Taylor Browning, is traveling to Hawaii for a vacation with his wife Michelle. (If you want to learn about an amazing recovery from aortic valve & root replacement, click to read Taylor’s inspiring heart surgery recovery.)

That said, Taylor just asked me about taking care of his chest incision in the hot, sunny and tropical weather of Hawaii after heart surgery. Specifically, Taylor noted in his email, “I plan on applying some heavy-duty sunscreen to the incision scar itself but wanted to see what you did given your proximity to the beach!”

First off, I’m jealous. I need a vacation!!! “CAN I COME TAYLOR?”

Second, here’s a picture of me ten months after my double heart valve replacement surgery.


Heart Surgery Scar Sunblock After Heart Surgery Incision


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Celebrities With Endocarditis… Help!

By Adam Pick on January 20, 2008

Recently, I received an interesting question about bacterial endocarditis. The question was, “Adam: Do you know of any celebrities with endocarditis?

It’s a good question. I remember when I first learned that I would need heart valve replacement surgery, it helped to know there were many, many, many, many public figures who had experienced heart valve surgery and continued to live a full, dynamic life afterwards.


Bacterial Endocarditis Infection Of Heart Valves


As for a particular celebrity with endocarditis (the heart valve disease), I unfortunately do not know of any. Sorry.

That said, I didn’t give up. So, I did what most people would do – I “Google’d” it.

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Leslie Readies For Robotic Mitral Valve Repair

By Adam Pick on January 12, 2008

There’s nothing better than helping patients and caregivers prepare for and recover from heart valve surgery. The stories of Jim Bonk, Taylor and Michelle Browning, and Kathy Benson are both inspirational and heart-warming.

Over the past two months, Leslie Lafayette (pictured below) and I have emailed back and forth about the fears, the risks and, of course, the pain of cardiac surgery.

Together, we have settled those fears and doubts – even the overwhelming concern about the vent tube post-surgery, right Leslie?

Well…. I just want to let you all know that Leslie has selected a heart valve surgeon, a heart valve procedure and an official date for her mitral valve repair. I have to give Leslie a lot of credit. Her research, specific to her upcoming operation, has been incredibly detailed.

Early this week, I received another interesting email from Leslie that shares her unique, patient perspective about her mitral valve surgery. I thought you might like to hear some of the steps that Leslie is taking to prepare for heart valve surgery.



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How To Prepare Yourself For Some Frustration… Before, During And After Surgery!

By Adam Pick on January 12, 2008

Many patients and caregivers say that heart valve surgery can be similar to a roller-coaster. There are emotional and physical “ups”. And, there are emotional and physical “downs”.

Looking back on my surgery, I completely agree with that roller-coaster analogy.

In addition to the fear… In addition to the uncertainty… In addition to the doubt.

I, like many patients, experienced waves of the “F” word. Ahem! Not that “F” word. The “Frustration” f-word.

I was frustrated with my insurance company. I was frustrated with my first cardiologist and his horrible bedside manner. I was frustrated with the heart surgeon selection process. I was frustrated with the valve selection process too.



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Laughter Is Best Medicine For Your Heart!

By Adam Pick on December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays Everybody!

This is way off-topic and a little (well more than a little) distasteful…


One of the best cliches you will ever hear in life is, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I completely agree with it. That said, I thought you might enjoy some holiday humor if you are currently experiencing heart valve surgery recovery or just need a good chuckle!

I hope you enjoy!



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Biocore Aortic Valve From St. Jude Medical

By Adam Pick on December 19, 2007

In the next revision of my book, I am going to provide even more information about the different types of heart valve replacements.

Over the past few months, I have met with several heart valve replacement manufacturers. Needless to say, I am learning a lot about the new technologies and the old faithfuls of the industry.



One of the tissue valve replacement types that I constantly receive questions about is the Biocore Aortic Valve from St. Jude Medical.

As you may have seen, St. Jude just received FDA approval for its Epic Stented Valve. It’s interesting to note that the Epic Stented Valve is built upon the architecture of the Biocore Aortic Valve.

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Teppo Numminen, NHL Hockey Star, Returns To Ice After Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

By Adam Pick on December 19, 2007

If you are looking for inspiration about life after heart valve surgery…

You have come to the right place!

Here is an amazing follow-up, patient success story on Teppo Numminen. Teppo is a NHL hockey star who recently had mitral valve repair surgery at The Cleveland Clinic.


Teppo Numminent - Heart Valve Surgery Patient

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“Do You Have Stamina After Heart Surgery?” Asks Brad

By Adam Pick on December 16, 2007

Earlier today, I received an email from Brad Mueller. Brad is preparing to have the Ross Procedure (aortic and pulmonary valve replacement) in early January, 2008.

Dr. John Oswalt (from Texas) will be performing the operation.

Brad wrote to me, “After surgery, did you regain your stamina. I’ve never been able to run a significant distance and when doing cardio exercises, I get tired relatively quickly. I’m wondering if I’ll see any improvement with a fully functioning three leaflet valve?”


Brad Mueller - Heart Valve Surgery Patient
Brad Mueller – Heart Valve Surgery Patient


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Cleveland Clinic Video Special – Mitral Valve Repair Video

By Adam Pick on December 15, 2007

As the leading cardiac care center in the world, The Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Care Center is known for its leading edge research and treatment of valvular problems and disorders. I have been very lucky to meet several members from the TCC team including Dr. Gosta Pettersson and Dr. Eric Roselli.



Here is an interesting video with Dr. Mihaljevic about robotic mitral valve repair that I thought you might like. So, without further ado… Click on the link above if you would like to see this mitral valve repair video from The Cleveland Clinic. Or, click here to learn more about repairing diseased mitral valves.

Keep on tickin!

The Best Feeling Ever!

By Adam Pick on December 15, 2007

This month has been absolutely amazing!

First, I get a letter from Dr. Donald Ross, inventor of the Ross Procedure, then I receive an email from my hero, mountain climber Veronika Meyer. And, now… Now, I am opening up wonderful, touching, inspirational notes from readers all over the world – Leslie, Cheryl, Jim, Lisa, Doug, Erik, etc.

It’s like Thanksgiving never stopped.


Thanks Everybody!


This morning I woke up and clicked on an email from Sherry Richardson of Las Vegas, Nevada. I have to admit, some tears of joy actually fluttered along my eyelids as I read this email.

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Cardiac Surgery Joke – God And The Devil Go At It!

By Adam Pick on December 14, 2007

Hey everybody,

Nothing like a little heart surgery humor!

The joke is called, “In The Beginning”.


Cardiac Surgery Humor and Jokes


I hope you enjoy! Adam

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Fluid In Lungs After Heart Valve Surgery?

By Adam Pick on December 13, 2007

Earlier today, I received an email from Stacey Ballan, a caregiver. Stacey’s mom recently had heart valve replacement surgery. Inside her email, there was a very interesting question that brought back memories of a minor minor heart valve surgery complication that I experienced.



Stacey’s email states, “Adam… My mother was supposed to be leaving the hospital today (it has been one week since her surgery). However, now the doctors say they have found fluid in her lungs. Is this normal or could it mean her valve is still leaking somehow? I feel so bad for her, she was all excited about coming home. Any idea as to what may be happening?”

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Guest Patient Blog: Jim Bonk 30 Days After Heart Valve Surgery

By Adam Pick on December 10, 2007

I will be the first to tell you that I never expected this website would grow so quickly. Over the past year, I have met so many wonderful patients, caregivers, doctors and nurses from around the world.

It turns out that we all have several things in common… But, we have come together to share, to learn and to help each other through heart valve surgery.

Several times a week, I receive emails from patients that have read my book and are now in recovery. Their stories are inspiring and touching. Recently, I met Jim Bonk, a certified public accountant from San Diego, California who had aortic valve and root replacement. Jim’s latest email to me provided a special glimpse into patient-life 30 days after aortic valve and root replacement.


Jim Bonk - 30 Days After Heart Valve Surgery


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My Annual Heart Valve Check-Up, Part I – The Echocardiogram And The Cardiologist, Dr. Ben Rosin

By Adam Pick on December 6, 2007

It’s amazing to think…

Two years have already passed since my double heart valve replacement. What an amazing twenty-four months it has been. Needless to say, I’m incredibly thankful for my health, my family, my friends and my new wife.

That said, I began my “2007 Annual Heart Valve Check-up” earlier today.

The routine hasn’t changed. First stop? Torrance Memorial Hospital for an echocardiogram and a visit with my cardiologist, Dr. “Big” Ben Rosin.


Torrance Memorial Hospital


I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I approached the reception desk. Even though I feel good and I have no heart valve problems or leaky heart valve symptoms, I’m always a tad concerned that the performance of my new valves might deteriorate.

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