John, if your sister is at CCF, then she is at the best. I have had two procedures there one for a-fib, and one for pvc's - both ablations were successfull. I made a proud bumper sticker for my car that says "God and Cleveland Clinic heal my heart"
I am scheduled for a mitral valve repair on 12 July and I am at total peace with it and looking forward to getting this behind me.
I have some experience at both hospitals. I was diagnosed 44 years at ago at age 6 with aortic stenosis with regurgitation following a bout of rhuematic fever. I lived in a small NC town, with no cardiologist and my GP thought my aortic valve was severly damaged and I was referred to Duke for surgery. Yje good doctors at Duke decided it was noisier than it was bad, and that my valve would likely perform ok into my 40's, and then need repair, From age 6 till 21 I made a once a year trip to Duke for evaluation and monitoring, and the outlook was always it would ultimately need to be replaced as I got older.
After moving away from NC, I still visited a cardiologist annually for check ups and thought when it was time I would head back to Duke for the surgery. Then sometime during the 80's the internet was invented and suddenly I had access to all kinds of info regarding my diagnosis and hospitals. Around 2000 I kept reading so much about the Cleveland Clinic and the strides they were making as heart surgery hospital, They were always number one on most of the annual reviews for heart and valve surgery, and i decisded this is where I wanted to go,
Last year, at age 49 my cardiologists finally said it was time and I needed surgery within the year. Actually the prebiuos yera he ahd told me the clock was ticking and I had tow years at the most to get this doen, should have listened then. I had decided on my surgeon in 2007 and promptly had my records sent to CC for evaluation. Two months later, 5/05/2010, I had my surgery for Valve replacement; aortic anuerysm repair, root repair and a left ventricle myectomy. Those last three repairs were needed because I waited that extra year.
I think there are many wonderful heart hospitals and surgeons in the US. I went into my surgery at CC beleiving I had chosen the very best of each. I think you will not find a better place in the world for your sister to have a second opinion, and ultimately whatever surgery is required than at the CC.
I don't know about Duke, but when I researched, I concluded CCF (Cleveland Clinic Foundation) is one of the best, if not the best place on the planet, most experienced for heart valve repair. Perhaps a consult with them would result in even a little different diagnosis...who knows..but I'd say a consult with them will be as good as you could find anywhere, quite possibly the best you could find. I happen to put Dr Mihaljevic and Dr. Guillinov on my short list and when I had to make a choice, chose Dr. Mihaljevic. I'm just over 7 weeks after surgery and doing physical stuff a lot of people can't, like last Sunday, at 68 years old, finishing 782nd of a field of 2011 5 K runners in Albuquerque. That's almost in the top 1/3rd. I nearly had a wet eye rush at the end when I found out my time, so thrilled to be alive and able because of the care I received. It is because of the care I had at CCF I was able to do this. Yep, CCF gets the credit. Barry on the mtn in New Mexico
John, I am so sorry to hear about your sister, but I am sure Cleveland Clinic can handle it. I have been there in 08 for afib ablation and in 09 for PVC ablation - both successful. They do very difficult cases.I think the statistics for 2009 for CCF is more than 2700 valve repairs. I will be going there again in July 2011 for mitral valve repair. When it comes to my heart I would go nowhere else. Good Luck and GOD bless. Emily