Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital Mount Sinai

David H. Adams, MD receives the American Heart Association's 2009 Heart of New York award
David H. Adams, MD, receives the American Heart
Association's 2009 Award for Achievement in
Cardiovascular Science and Medicine from
Heart Ball Chair Michael A. Mussallem,
Chairman and CEO, Edwards Lifesciences.

On June 9, 2009, Dr. David H. Adams was honored by the American Heart Association for Achievement in Cardiovascular Science and Medicine.


Honoring heroes among us, the 2009 New York City Heart Ball, A Tribute to Heart and Stoke Heroes, was held in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life in the American Museum of Natural History. The Heart Ball celebrated the achievements of two honorees and the stories of 13 heroes who have contributed to heart and stroke health and awareness in their own unique ways. These individuals were chosen because they exemplify the human capacity to help, heal and hope. Also honored were Dr. Robert Solomon of Columbia University Medical Center, recipient of the Stroke Spotlight Award, and sanofi-aventis, recipient of the Company of the Year Award. The Heart Ball was chaired by Michael A. Mussallem, Chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences, with NBC's David Ushery as Master of Ceremonies.

Watch Dr. Adams' honoree video from the Heart Ball.


Read video transcript []

Tonight, The American Heart Association is proud to present The Heart of New York Achievement in Cardiovascular Science and Medicine Award to Dr. David Adams for his outstanding life’s work in the field of cardiovascular surgery and for displaying heart through is personal and medical leadership, which has helped make New York City a better place to live and work.


Dr. Adams is a world renowned surgeon and a leader in the field of heart valve surgery and mitral value reconstruction. As the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, he has set national benchmarks for degenerative mitral valve repair rates while running one of the largest repair programs in the United States.


Dr. Adams is a pioneer in the field of mitral valve repair, finding ways to preserve damaged mitral valves with advanced reconstructive techniques instead of valve replacement with a metal or animal valve. After fixing a damaged or weakened leaflet, a special ring is implanted around the valve to provide even further support. Along with Professor Alain Carpentier, the father of mitral valve surgery, Dr. Adams is the co inventor of two of the most widely used mitral valve annuloplasty rings in the world.


Dr. Adams grew up in North Carolina. His Southern charm and hospitality coupled with his expertise in valve surgery have created a huge legacy of successful surgeries and extremely grateful patients. One such patient, Laura Appel, a 19-year-old, received a complex mitral valve repair surgery from Dr. Adams. Her parents summarized what so many patients and families have felt having been touched by Dr. Adams and his team


“Dear Dr. Adams, when the unthinkable happens to your family you can only hope that the help that arrives is a fraction of what we experienced with you. You have been generous, kind, and exceptionally wonderful with Laura’s surgery. Thank You, Thank You. Your team is amazing. Enjoy the holidays and thanks for posing. Kind wishes Angela and Harold.”


In addition to Dr. Adams’ surgical success, he is a much sought after speaker both nationally and internationally. He has developed one of the world’s largest video libraries of techniques in valve reconstruction. He is the author of over 200 publications, several book chapters, and a co-author of the upcoming text book, Carpentier’s Valve Reconstruction, and holds three patents. Dr. Adams is recognized as a leading surgeon, scientist, and medical expert serving on the editorial boards of several medical journals. He was previously awarded the Paul Dudley White Research Fellowship by The American Heart Association, which is only one of the many research scholarships and honorary appointments he has garnered throughout his career.


Dr. Adams’ illustrious career began after receiving his undergraduate and medical education at Duke University. Both his internship and residency in general and cardiothoracic surgery were conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and at Harvard Medical School. Then he completed a fellowship in the Cardiothoracic Unit at Harefield Hospital in London and another two-year research fellowship in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He served at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as the Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery prior to his recruitment to Mount Sinai.


His mentors that have led him to this pinnacle include pillars of Cardiovascular Medicine including Drs. David Sabiston, Jr., Morris Karnovsky, Lawrence Cohn, Aldo Castaneda, Magdi Yacoub, Alain Carpentier, Eugene Braunwald, and Valetin Fuster.


Dr. Adams is always ready to reach out to patients in need around the globe, having operated on over 200 patients in developing countries. For four days in January of this year, he joined Dr. Khanh Nguyen and 11 other Mount Sinai Heart doctors and nurses in participating in a Gift of Life Medical Mission to Hue City, Vietnam. Together, they performed several valve repair operations over a five-day period. In addition to performing surgery, Dr. Adams and the members of the mission team devoted numerous hours to training local surgeons on how to perform such procedures.


It is with great pride and appreciation that we present Dr. Adams with The American Heart Association’s 2009 Heart of New York Award for Achievement in Cardiovascular Science and Medicine.


Tribute to Heart and Stroke Heroes: Help, Heal, Hope.


Read video transcript []

On the day he was born, he was diagnosed with a very rare heart issue. So, right from there he had to undergo a very serious operation. It was a huge shock, especially knowing that how close he was to really not making it; to know that he was able to fight through it without any complications afterwards. It was really just a testament of his strength of character and to know that somebody had so much impact in his life from day one. We think he really is a hero.


A hero is someone who is very proactive…


They do something extraordinary…


Someone who has a lot of integrity…


Those that are unrecognized…


People that go out to try and support the disadvantaged.


I just believe in going out and helping my fellow man. We really believe that everyone in the United States and the world should get fair treatment when it comes to heart care.


Greer had a lot of great care in the hospital and made some very nice friends.


Daddy slept next to me on the couch.


I have had the luxury to seeing some of these patients who were basically so close to death come into our hospitals; actually walk back into our office within six to nine months later. It is just an amazing feeling.


I just kind of go to work and I do my job and do the best that I can. I try to be a strong advocate for my patients and their families.


I am a retired heart surgeon and former NFL player. I was looking forward to giving back. Now I am the founder of The Living Heart Foundation. So, I am proud to be part of the team.


I was running the New York City Marathon. I looked over to my right and someone was down on the ground. If I am able to help then I will; and I was thankfully and thankfully he survived.


It is something that you just do and you do not even really think about it being extraordinary. You need to master what it is that you are doing and know what to expect and be prepared.


You know in medicine, a hero is someone who is there everyday, who has so much experience…


Who is always aspiring for the highest level of care.


You know medicine today could be very impersonal. To get that care out there in a way that patients feel connected, that the people who are touching them really care.


I just approach them as a human being. To be recognized is one thing, but to do more is more important for me.


Go above and beyond; always keep the patients’ interests in mind. It is never about us, it is always about the patient.


I had a stroke. I just lay in the ICU dying. The doctors at Roosevelt re-birthed me. Here I am, a miracle baby... well not such a baby, but it is really true … a miracle baby.


I think I am running for the Guiness Book of Records with 19 stents put in.


I suffered a triple heart valve surgery caused by an infection.


He told me that the heart started to leak. Basically, what they told me was we cannot guarantee you anything but I wanted to tackle the issue in the best possible way I could so I said “Let’s go”. The real heroes are the people responsible for coming up with the products and procedures that enabled me to have this extra time.


My kids are my heroes. I have worked with children all my life. Kids who had parents who were not there for them. They stayed with us, and they called me Mama Mo. They told me I had a heart problem and I had probably had it for a couple of years without knowing it. Mama Mo just stopped completely. I had to have an operation, an open heart surgery. It bothered me because I could not be active for the children anymore. My motivation were my kids. They showed me how much love they have for me. When I could not walk to the bathroom they helped me. They cleaned the house. They went to get my medication. They did everything. I was planning on staying on this earth longer. One way or another but I was planning on staying on this earth longer.


My son is my hero. Through him I see how great life could be.


They do something extraordinary.


They make a difference everyday, one way or another.


What are you going to be when you grow up?




You want to be happy.


The New York City Heart Ball supports the fight against heart disease and stroke, the nations #1 and #3 killers. Funds raised at the event are invested in research, professional education, advocacy, and community service programs so people across America can live longer, stronger lives.


Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. These diseases are America’s #1 and #3 killers and, together with all other cardiovascular diseases, claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07, the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit




The New York City Heart Ball in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, American Museum of Natural History.

Page Created: Tuesday, 07 July 2009

Last Updated: Tuesday, 07 February 2012


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