Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Blog – Page 9

Surgeon Q&A: What Should Heart Valve Patients Know About Atrial Fibrillation?

By Adam Pick on July 25, 2018

Now, more than ever, I am getting questions about atrial fibrillation (AFib) from heart valve patients.  And, for good reason.  Did you know that up to 35% of patients with heart valve disease have AFib?  And, did you know that people with AFib are 5 times more likely to have a stroke? Sadly, did you know that AFib can result in heart failure?

On top of all that…  Did you know that AFib is commonly IGNORED during heart valve surgery? Watch this new video to learn the shocking realities of AFib treatment for valve patients, the latest AFib research, and the most effective AFib treatment options from Dr. Harold Roberts, a leading heart surgeon at West Virginia University Medical Center.

 

 

I really want (need) to over-emphasize the key points made by Dr. Roberts in this interview:

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Special Guest Post: 5 Steps To Prepare for Heart Surgery by Peggy Huddleston

By Adam Pick on July 19, 2018

For years, I’ve heard about the fantastic, mind-body techniques of Peggy Huddleston.  Many patients in our community, like Gina Fiorentino, have raved to me about the benefits of Peggy’s book, “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster”.   In addition, several cardiac centers – including Brigham & Women’s Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center – recommend Peggy’s CD and MP3 to patients.

 

 

If you didn’t know…  Research suggests that Peggy’s strategies help patients (i) reduce anxiety before surgery, (ii) reduce pain medication consumption by 25%-50%, (iii) diminish insomnia, and (iv) accelerate healing.  For these reasons, I was thrilled to recently connect with Peggy. During our exchange, I asked Peggy, “What are your most important tips for patients getting ready for surgery?”
 

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What 5 Facts Should You Know About The Aorta?

By Adam Pick on July 11, 2018

If you didn’t know…

Your aorta is the largest artery in the body.  It starts at the top of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, and extends down to the abdomen.  Blood is pumped from the left ventricle into the aorta through the aortic valve, which is a tri-leaflet heart valve for 98% of the population.

As many people in this patient community are aware, the aorta can weaken and expand.  This bulge in the aorta is called an aneurysm.  In worse case scenarios, an aortic aneurysm can rupture (or dissect).  Together, we have learned that many patients with heart valve disease – especially bicuspid aortic valves – also have aortic aneurysms.

 

 

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Technology Update: How Did 4D-MRI Help John Time Bicuspid Valve & Aneurysm Surgery?

By Adam Pick on May 31, 2018

Timing heart valve surgery can be tricky for cardiologists, for surgeons and, ultimately, for patients.  For this reason, doctors and medical device companies are working together to develop next-generation technologies to determine the right time to operate or to continue “watchful waiting”.

I wanted to learn more about this topic, so I met with John Pascarella from Frankfort, Illinois.  John was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, a bicuspid aortic valve and an aortic aneurysm during a Medicare physical.  Interestingly, John was not rushed into surgery.  Instead, Dr. Chris Malaisrie, a leading cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Medicine, used Four Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (4D-MRI) to watch John closely until surgery was needed.  This is John’s story…

 

 

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Our Videos Rocket Past 1.2 Million Playbacks!

By Adam Pick on May 31, 2018

This is unexpected…

I just learned that the 125+ educational videos we created for the patients and the caregivers in our community just surged past 1,200,000 views in our YouTube Channel.  Woo-Whoo!!!

What makes this milestone so interesting and (wonderful) is that we have not advertised any of our videos.  That’s right!  We have not paid for a single playback since launch.

 

 

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Before-and-After Surgery: Tim’s Mitral Valve Reveal

By Adam Pick on May 24, 2018

Have you ever wanted to see what a mitral valve looks like before-and-after it’s repaired?

Well… Thanks to Tim Martin, a patient who just had mitral valve repair surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, here’s your chance!

 

 

As you can see, an annuloplasty ring was used to support the supporting structure of the mitral valve.  You can also see how the leaflets of the mitral valve are now coming together to prevent leakage across the valve.

Pretty amazing, right?

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Julie’s Smiling Scar Selfie Goes Viral!

By Adam Pick on May 24, 2018

Thanks to Julie…  I’m having another “Holy Moly” moment.

What happened?  First, I saw an inspirational Smiling Scar Selfie from Julie Gerard posted at our community.  Julie just had a mitral valve repair procedure on April 19.  I loved the photo. So, I shared it at Facebook.  Then… Julie went viral.  In less than 24 hours, Julie’s picture received over 5,000 social shares, 400+ encouraging comments, and directly reached over 41,000 people around the world.

 

 

Many thanks to Julie for sharing her Smiling Scar Selfie with our community!  And, thanks to you for supporting Julie as she recovers from heart valve surgery!

Keep on tickin’ Julie!
Adam

“How Can Robots Advance Heart Valve Surgery?” asks Diane

By Adam Pick on May 17, 2018

This patient community is fantastic.  The questions I’ve received lately are wonderful and very detailed.  I know that you, or the loved one you care for, are taking patient advocacy to a new level!

As we saw in this patient success story, many patients are doing their homework specific to mitral valve repair and the various techniques used by surgeons and cardiologists used to treat mitral regurgitation.  Recently, I had a phone call with Diane.  She said, “Adam, I want to learn more about robotics for mitral valve repair?”

To educate Diane and our community, I jumped at the opportunity to connect with Dr. Vinay Badhwar, who is the Professor and Executive Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Dr. Badhwar is a community favorite that has cared for our patients and supported our educational initiatives.  Here’s what Dr. Badhwar shared with me:

 

 

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60 Minutes After TAVR, Harolyn Looks This Good!

By Adam Pick on May 10, 2018

On January 10, 2017…

I received a phone call from Harolyn, an aortic stenosis patient, from Springfield, Missouri.  Like so many patients I speak with, Harolyn was a bit nervous, a bit concerned and a bit apprehensive about the possibility of heart valve surgery in her life.  So you know, Harolyn was no stranger to disease.  She already had 3 bouts with cancer that required radiation and chemotherapy.

As we spoke, I did my best to calm her fears and educate Harolyn about potential treatment options.  The more we spoke, the more I learned that Harolyn was her own best advocate.  She had already spent time on HeartValveSurgery.com – educating herself about aortic stenosis and the minimally invasive therapies that might treat her narrow aortic valve.

 

Harolyn, TAVR Patient, with Dr. Brown & Dr. Mack

 

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Congratulations to Dr. David Adams, New AATS President!!!

By Adam Pick on May 10, 2018

On behalf of his patients, their families and our global community…

I wanted to extend a mighty “CONGRATULATIONS!!!” to Dr. David Adams who was just announced as the 99th President of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery (AATS).   As you may know, Dr. Adams, who is the Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, is a mitral valve repair guru.  He’s written books on mitral valve repair. He’s invented mitral valve repair devices. He’s ran conferences about mitral valve repair.  And, he’s even started the Mitral Foundation, a unique philanthropic organization that has taken him all over the world to teach mitral valve repair techniques.

 

Dr. David Adams

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“Why Did I Want A Mitral Valve Repair?” by Janet

By Adam Pick on May 3, 2018

In our community, patient interest specific to mitral valve repair surgery continues to grow.  To support that educational interest, I’ve attended workshops, traveled to conferences and published free eBooks dedicated to mitral valve reconstruction techniques.

During a recent trip to Chicago, I was super lucky to connect with Janet, a long-time member of our patient community.  Janet, Bill (her husband), and I had actually met at Patient Day a few years back.  As we sat together, it was very interesting to hear Janet’s story and the reasons she was so committed to having a mitral valve repair procedure.  Here’s what Janet had to say…

 

 

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“Are There Advantages to Heart Surgery Through The Ribs?” asks Dennis

By Adam Pick on April 16, 2018

We’ve learned together that there are several different approaches for surgeons and cardiologists to treat heart valve disease.   There are open heart techniques and there are transcatehter approaches for heart valve replacement and repair.  Specific to this spectrum of approaches, I received a great question from Dennis about minimally-invasive access through the ribs.

Dennis asked me, “Hi Adam,  Does aortic valve replacement – through the rib cage – have any advantages or disadvantages versus open heart and/or TAVR?  Thanks. Dennis”

 

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Sneak Peek: 2018 Patient Day at Edwards Lifesciences

By Adam Pick on April 16, 2018

Twenty minutes before the patients arrived at Edwards Lifesciences for the 2018 Patient Day, this happened…

 

 

What happened next?  Stay tuned!

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Is Heart Failure Connected to Atrial Fibrillation & Mitral Valve Disease?

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2018

I just received a great question from Clay about mitral valve disease, atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.  In his note, Clay asked me, “Hi Adam, I have congestive heart failure and mitral valve prolapse plus long-term atrial fibrillation (AFib). My question is whether-or-not congestive heart failure is connected with mitral valve prolapse?  Thanks, Clay”

 

 

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Heart Surgery Patients Unite By A Mexican Pool!

By Adam Pick on April 5, 2018

An unexpected gift just occurred in my life.

While on Spring Break with my family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting…  Not one…  Not two… But, three heart valve patients.  Here’s what happened:

First, I met Mike from New Jersey.  Mike is a heart valve replacement patient who suffered from aortic stenosis.  Like so many patients in our community, Mike was mis-diagnosed several times.  It wasn’t until he was severely symptomatic and the valve was almost completely closed that Mike got help.

 

 

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“Will Exercise & Heart Valve Surgery Cause My Aorta To Grow?” asks Joseph

By Adam Pick on March 29, 2018

Aortic aneurysms can be life-threatening.  You might recall that an aortic aneurysm pre-maturely claimed the life of John Ritter, one of my favorite comedians best known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper on Three’s Company.

Specific to aneurysms, heart valve surgery, and exercise, Joseph sent me this question, “Hi Adam – I had mitral valve repair surgery in April of 2017.  After a follow-up in July, my cardiologist told me that my aorta was dilated at 4.5 centimeters and surgery might be necessary at 5 to 5.5 centimeters. Could my repair in April and/or strenuous prolonged exercise cause the aorta to grow?”

To answer Joseph’s question, I met with Dr. Eric Weiss, who is the director of the Aorta Program at Aurora Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Here are the highlights from my very interesting discussion with Dr. Weiss.

 

 

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My Cardiologist Was Absolutely Wrong!!!

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

Yikes!  Ugh!  Gasp!  Ready to learn why patient education and patient advocacy is so important for patients with heart valve disease?

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this note from Gina Fiorentino, a mitral valve patient and community member, from San Francisco.

 

Gina, Michael (husband) and Rocco

 

Gina Writes To Me…

Hi Adam,

I’m five days out from mitral valve repair. I was just released from the hospital today!

It’s very early in my recovery but I had to reach out and thank you for helping me through this process. Because of you, my prognosis and my LIFE has changed – much for the better!

As you may recall… Before I found your website, this past summer, I had been told by a cardiologist that my mitral valve prolapse had progressed.  But, I was directed – by the cardiologist – to sit back and “wait for symptoms to become intolerable”.  
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Would Alan Play Hockey Again After Heart Surgery?

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

His passion was hockey.  His diagnosis was severe heart valve disease.  His fear… Never playing hockey again.

This is Alan’s story…

 

 

Many thanks to Alan Steinberg for meeting with me to share his triumph of getting back on the ice after heart valve surgery. I loved hearing his story and I loved his inspirational attitude toward the procedure and his remarkable recovery.

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Thanks To Dr. John Mehall, Our 1st Sponsor in Colorado!

By Adam Pick on March 21, 2018

On behalf of our community, I wanted to extend a humongous thanks to Dr. John Mehall for becoming our first sponsor in Colorado.   Dr. Mehall, who specializes in minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve surgery, has performed over 1,000 heart valve procedures.

 

 

Dr. Mehall also specializes in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heart rhythm.  If you didn’t know, AFib can impact up to 35% of patients who have a valve defect.  So, if you have valve disease and AFib, you want to find a surgeon who can treat both diseases during a single operation.

Here’s a video in which Dr. Mehall describes his approach to patient care.

 

 

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On National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day, We Raised Awareness to 1 Million People!

By Adam Pick on March 15, 2018

Our patient community is downright amazing!

I can not thank you enough for celebrating National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day with me.   Thanks to your online efforts we raised heart valve disease awareness to over 1 million people.   This is so important because heart valve disease is under-diagnosed, mis-diagnosed and under-treated.  Consider that 40% of American adults have never even heard of heart valve disease.  Yikes!

 

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