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July 18, 2018   Like
On Facebook Live tomorrow, July 18th. Look up Northwestern Medicine and join live at 1:15 CST.
Susan Lynn  I watched it. Very informative. Thanks for sharing.
Louanna Miller  Yes,I watched it also. Very informative.
Facebook Live: Northwestern Medicine-Advances in Cardiac Su
Journal posted on July 17, 2018
For those of you that are on Facebook, the hospital and surgeon I will be most likely be working with, Northwestern University in Chicago and Dr. Patrick McCarthy will me making a 30 minute Presentation on Facebook Live tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm CST. The presentation is entitled Advances in Cardiac Surgery. Cardiac surgery is one of the most rapidly evolving fields of medicine. Learn how Northwestern Medicine is pioneering these incredible advances! Just look up Northwestern Medicine on Facebook tomorrow at 1:15 PM CST and join in.
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January 1, 1970   Like
Minimally Invasive or Full Sternotomy
Journal posted on July 6, 2018
I have a bicuspid aortic valve that needs replacement due to aortic stenosis and it being tight. I am also asymptomatic. I am a research nut and am currently reading Adam's book and I am finding out that if just the aortic valve needs to be replaced that the minimally invasive approach is being used instead of the full sternotomy. In preparation for my next set of meetings at Northwestern University I just to have confidence in my questions and want to have a better idea if this minimally invasive approach is the best way. I am all for less invasive and a quicker recovery. Sometimes I feel when I ask these questions I feel like I am looked upon as "wimping out" but I really do just want to take advantage of the technological advances and be as current and knowledgeable as possible. If you are or were in the same situation I would love to hear your thoughts. I feel comfortable asking this community because I am sure most know how I am feeling and that its not about wimping out. Thanks in advance!
Susan Lynn  Dan - the key to going into surgery with confidence is doing your research and asking a million questions! It's the only way to make an informed choice. ... Read more
Rita Savelis  There is no "best" way really. Just what will work in your very specific situation. Recovery can be fast or slow in both cases and pain varies greatly. Both ... Read more
Chris Purvis  I had the same procedure as Susan and yes, one of the cannulas goes in around the groin. I haven’t had any issues with it either but a lot of that also depends ... Read more
Lisa McLaughlin  Adam has some video interviews on this site if you search "minimally invasive". This one is from Northwestern.  https://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/heart-surgery-blog/2013/09/04/surgeon-spotlight-dr-s-chris-malaisrie-md/ ... Read more
I am thrilled to shine our "Surgeon Spotlight" on Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie. Over the years, Dr. Malaisrie's support of our community has been fantastic. In additi
Phyllis Petersen  I'm always for the least invasive approach and want to know why if they can't do it. It's not wimping out; it's just trying to put your body through the least ... Read more
Rose Madura  I don't think you are whimping out at all. My surgery was NOT minimally invasive and I had a ton of complications due to the trauma to my heart. The surgery ... Read more
Steve Farthing  When I was interviewing surgeons, I realized many surgeons learn minimally invasive techniques 'on the job' as opposed to a multi-year training residency that ... Read more
Techniques for minimally invasive mitral valve repair and replacement continue to evolve. This expert opinion, the second of a 3-part series, outlines current best practices for nonrobotic, minimally invasive mitral valve procedures, and for postoperative ...
Dan Vechiola  Wow thanks for all the responses! You guys are great and very helpful! I appreciate you taking the time!
Susan Lynn  Steve Farthing - You always provide a wealth of great information. I enjoy reading your posts. I had my mini-t performed by Dr. Scott Goldman one of the ... Read more
Steve Farthing  Susan Lynn - Good to know!
John Lant  ... Dan, I had the full sternotomy on my chest because my Surgeon said this was the Cadillac way to go. All I can say to you is that it is not as bad as it ... Read more
Judy Shaw  Dan, I had aortic valve replacement 8 days ago. I am short in stature so my incision is about 6 inches long. The surgeon didn't start all the way up at my throat ... Read more
Michael Cline  I had min-invasive 3 weeks ago. A 3" horizontal incision to my upper right chest to get at the aortic valve. At this time I have very little pain around the ... Read more
Wanda Mroz  I had a mitral valve repair. I was given a choice of minimally invasive or OHS. I couldn’t decide. I met with the surgeon twice and my reg Dr told me to ... Read more
Kelly Stoll  I went with the mini sterno. Basically, the doc made a 4 to 6" incision. We discussed other options and there was a chance I could have ended up with a full. ... Read more
Ivana Okereke  I had minimally invasive robotically assisted mitral valve repair. I am 3 weeks post-op. feeling great and no scars to be seen (they are strategically placed ... Read more
Jennifer John  Me: I had a mitral valve repair and maze procedure on 5/31 with full right thoracotomy incision. (Hard to explain. Look it up.) It was difficult for my surgeon ... Read more
Wanda Mroz  Jennifer, I too was told that your surgery was more painful. Truthfully, I had a total shoulder replacement five years ago that was far more painful than my sternotomy.
Here's my newest picture!
January 1, 1970   Like
Here's my newest picture!
January 1, 1970   Like
Update posted on...

June 24, 2018

Question for those who were asymptomatic prior to valve surgery. Following your valve replacement did you feel better than you did prior?
Bev Bott  Hi Dan. My symptoms were not recognized by me. I just thought things were normal. I’m still waiting on the feel better. My drs say the heart sounds strong ... Read more
Vicki B  Great question - I'm anxious to hear the answer! I feel great which I think makes the OHS (7/3) a bit more difficult to accept.
Dan Vechiola  Thanks Bev. I am right with you Vicki. I feel great now that my blood sugar, cholesterol and blood sugar are all in control and I understand that I need to ... Read more
Diane Maher  I too am asymptomatic, no meds. At 70, I find myself thinking that I am heading towards a new normal filled with uncertain symptoms and challenges as a result of OHS.
Rose Madura  The only symptom I had was some shortness of breath. While my surgery was more than just a valve replacement, I have no regrets at all. I had a lot of complications ... Read more
Kirk Bepler  I did not really notice anything except for the heart palpitations with the skipping a beat, but that has been for the last 20 years. I do notice now I no longer ... Read more
Mary Woods  Yes I have the same question! I have some palpitations, and feel I need to be fitter, but that's about it. I have an almost severe leaky mitral valve. Hard ... Read more
Carmel Robertson  This was the big concern for me as I was asymtomatic before I had my operation. Now that I have had my valve repaired, I feel pretty much the same as before, ... Read more
Rita Savelis  It took months before I got my energy back after OHS.
Now I would say I feel different, not better, just different. A new normal. But perhaps that is just ... Read more
Jennifer John  Dan, I was also asymptomatic, except for one A-Fib episode last fall and some mild fatigue. I’m 3 weeks post-op now. Doc says I’ll feel better than ever ... Read more
Marie Myers  Looking back, I felt more irregular heartbeats prior to surgery. They were not a problem , and I was playing tennis and horseback riding without issue. No shortness ... Read more
Helen Daw  I did not feel my shortness of breath, I always associated it with my extra weight.
Bob Gillespie  Only knowing that there was a problem that is now fixed. Other than that I feel cheated that I don't get the joy of 'Feeling so much better' like a lot of valve patients get. Blessed.
Dan Vechiola  Thanks everybody! Interesting to hear your responses. I guess knowing that "we got it" before "it got us" is very reassuring. However, the process of "getting it" appears to be huge.
Kelly Stoll  Hi Dan. I am a reverse case... my symptoms were actually more progressed than the valve, which pushed up my surgery. It is a huge process but personally, even ... Read more
Bonnie Stone-Hope  Hi Dan,
I had no problems prior to the surgery, except going up stairs (and I attributed this to my age). Now, have a "new norm" but do not feel better, just ... Read more
Marching Forward
Journal posted on June 22, 2018
Due to my severe bleeding problem following gum surgery to prep for heart valve surgery, I had to see a Hematologist for surgery clearance. I just received clearance for surgery from Dr. Gezur at Rush University in Chicago. In his opinion, he wasn't able to find anything after taking 20 tubes of blood. He feels my bleeding issues were due to an overdose from Lovenox. I bridged from Warafin to Lovenox for 5 days prior to gum surgery. He also is recommending a tissue valve and not mechanical. Next up is an appointment with my cardiologist which will be on June 29, 2018.
Marie Myers  Wow! That is quite a wild ride! Glad you got the bleeding issue and blood sugar issues under control. Now , on to the cardiologist... You are going to be like new!
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June 22, 2018   Like
My heart is not just mine. This is all for my girls
Judy Shaw  Beautiful family, Dan.
Dan Vechiola  Thanks Judy! Its amazing how you realize when you get older that its not just about you but about all that care about you too.
Judy Shaw  Yes it is. I've always been on the care giving side for my husband during his many surgeries and hospital stays. Now he will be my caregiver. This is going to be my first major surgery.
Muhammad Riyaz  What a fortunate person you are Dan, indeed. PIZZA, Not Good any more. Hope you will enjoy the life to its fullest.
Susan Lynn  Beautiful family! You have a whole team of cheerleaders!
Now, I want pizza - looks delicious!
Dan Vechiola  Thanks you guys! Just trying to surround myself with who cares about me the most and try to be as positive as I can as I move forward in this process.
Chris Purvis  Beautiful family! I’ve almost been away from my kids for 2 weeks and that has been tough! Can’t wait to get home...home sweet home. Your blessed with your family Dan.
Bonnie Stone-Hope  You are truly blessed!
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June 23, 2018   Like
Me and Donna. She has been by my side every step of the way!
Chris Purvis  That’s how my amazing wife was. She did sooo much over the last 4 days and man it makes your realize how much you truly can love someone or vice verse.
Dan Vechiola  Yes it does! Glad your are doing well and on your way home. Such an event puts in perspective of what is really important in life. As hard as it is for us ... Read more
Bonnie Stone-Hope  Lovely photo. You both look so happy.
Here's my newest picture!
January 1, 1970   Like
Here's my newest picture!
June 21, 2018   Like
Steve Farthing  Dan, from what you described following the gum flap surgery, that sounds like a rougher experience than most people have after having a heart valve replaced!
Susan Lynn  Welcome, Dan! You've certainly been through a lot! We'll be here to cheer you on and welcome you to recovery!
Rose Madura  Wow, quite a story. This site was very helpful to my husband and I. Let us know if you have any questions.
Dan Vechiola  Thanks everybody. Yes my family said hopefully the heart valve surgery will be nothing in comparison. I don't remember much but it was a horrible experience ... Read more
Judy Shaw  Hi Dan. I too am having aortic valve replacement, in 6 days to be exact. At first I was scared to death but after finding this site and asking questions of ... Read more
Dan Vechiola  Thanks all for your support. We can all do this together!!