Mail the completed forms along with your card or letter and a post-surgery photo to our office, attention Flo Kelemen:
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
If you wish, you can e-mail your signed forms, letter and photo to:
Testimonials must involve actual patient experience with our Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center team. We will only refer to patients by initial or first name with regional area so your privacy will be assured.
All testimonials are provided voluntarily. No compensation is involved.
James S. - Georgia
Sent: July 11, 2012
To: Adams, David
Dear Doctors Adams and Anyanwu and the Mount Sinai Team,
This year was my best spring break trip ever. During spring break at my school, my family and I traveled to New York for surgery. I picked Mount Sinai based on the strong recommendations of my two cardiologists and the hospital's international reputation for excellence in heart surgery. At the end of my consultation with Dr. Adams, six weeks before the date for my surgery, I knew I was making the best choice. My operation was complicated; it was my second mitral valve repair surgery. My first surgery in 2005 at a Georgia hospital reduced my valve leakage to a measurable but minor amount. That repair eventually failed, leaving me in very bad shape last fall: severe regurgitation, atrial flutter, structural abnormalities, and a drastically low ejection fraction. This time my surgery at Mt Sinai, and my overall hospital experience, could not have gone better. A team of two surgeons, Doctors Adams and Anyanwu, accomplished a perfect repair of my mitral and tricuspid valves, plus performed a maze procedure to reduce my risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
My two post-surgery echocardiograms both have shown no valve leakage whatsoever. Listening with the stethoscope, one hears nothing but normal beats: no whoosh, murmur, or click sound. Nor have I had any reoccurrence of arrhythmia since my discharge from Mt Sinai. This was confirmed last month by a holter monitor test, which recorded my heart's electrical activity for 48 hours. My left atrium, severely enlarged at the time of surgery, has reduced in size to 4.5 cm (close to normal), and my ejection fraction has rebounded to close to the normal range. My recovery has gone extremely well. With a repaired heart, I feel better than I have in years. One of my hobbies is running, which I was cleared to resume last month. I've walked almost daily since my surgery, but since Father's Day my workouts are "walk-runs," for which I alternate brisk walking and running. I'm gradually building up the length of my running segments. Today's workout was 16 minutes walking and 20 minutes running. ... Next year: the New York City Marathon.
I am truly blessed by the amazing team of doctors and assistants who took care of me at Mt Sinai. Without their gifts, I would have never arrived at where I am today, with my health turned around and the prospect of a long, active life. You have my unending gratitude.
Shayan S. - Colorado
February 2011 – I was experiencing fatigue, shortness of breath walking up a flight of stairs, and had developed a cough.
March 2011 – Cardiologist informed me I needed heart surgery.
April 21, 2011 – I collapsed while walking around the block at home in Boulder, CO (5,400 ft.) I was coughing constantly and could hardly hold a conversation.
April 22, 2011 – Flew to NY to be at sea level and symptoms improved a little briefly.
May 12, 2011 – Could only walk 100 feet in Central Park before needing to sit down due to fatigue, shortness of breath, and cough.
May 13, 2011 – Mitral Valve Repair with Dr. Adams.
August 15, 2011 – I went trail running at 6,000 ft.
August 20, 2011 – I hiked ten miles between 8,500 and 10,000 ft in Rocky Mountain National Park.
August 24, 2011 – Celebrated my 34th birthday and hiked to top of Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO at 6,800 ft.
August 26, 2011 – Hiked Mt. Sanitas trail to watch morning sunrise at 6,400 feet!
As I told Dr. Milla, I thought my life was over, but he gave my life back to me. I suffered for such a long time, not breathing, no strength, coughing and collapsing. This was my life. I truly believe that God sent Dr. Milla to me. He explained the surgery with such kindness and compassion and put my mind at ease before and after surgery. I now can play with my grandchildren easily.
Thank you Dr. Milla for giving me back to my children and family and friends. I will never forget you and you will always be in my prayers.
God Bless You!
Six weeks after open-heart surgery!
Kelly C. - Idaho
October 12, 2011
Dear Dr. Adams,
Remember that woman from Idaho? It's been nearly seven years since I walked into your office in 2004 and met you and your staff. My life has changed so much in ways I could never have imagined.
Seven years ago I got winded climbing the 7 steps between levels in our house. I sat on the floor to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. I wore socks in 95 degree weather and my feet were still cold. You get the picture.
I have never been an athlete, but a year after surgery I started trying various ways of exercising. I eventually pulled out my son's old bike and found it to be a joy. I love riding out in the country by our house.
I have biked in West Nyack, NY, Minneapolis, and I have biked the Mt. Vernon trail in Virginia. In 2008, I joined my sister biking in the Prouty event in Hanover, NH and biked 50 miles. In 2010, I had the opportunity to do a bike tour in Sydney, Australia and bike over the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This past May, I joined some friends at an event in Libby, MT and we biked 46 miles one day and 38 the next.
Besides biking, I have also taken up kayaking slow rivers and lakes and I am enjoying hiking the mountains with my husband again. Friends who knew me before the surgery still marvel at the change in me.
From the moment I was told to stand up after surgery and move my feet I could feel that I was better. Walking the hospital halls was even pleasurable! The amazing repair you did and the care of all the nurses and your personal staff got me to whwere I am today. Everyone made sure I knew what was going on and trated me as if I was one who was special. For that and my new life I thank you all.
You performed surgery on me on August 19 + repaired my "shredded valve". I wanted to thank you in person during my follow up visit on 9/28, but our schedule wouldn't allow it. Anyway, the outcome of the surgery has been extremely positive. No negative repercussions, at all. You and your staff were absolutely great to me.
Dr. Tang + Dr. Chan were fantastic. Terrific care and treatment at Mt. Sinai.
Hope all is well with you. August 24th was six months since my valve surgery and five days later another surgery. I thought you would like to know how I'm doing. I feel great!
I went for cardiac rehab and my report to Dr. Grossman shows my heart rhythm is very good.
Most recently my family told me what went on during my first surgery, and why I needed the second. They told me how quickly Dr. Anyanwu came and stayed with me two and half hours after the procedure until I was stable. I shall always be indebted to him.
They tell me I'm a miracle. The miracle is that God sent you and your team to me. I always remember the visits from you and your surgical team. The warm smiles of accomplishment on your faces. That made my day!
I will be returning to work Sept. 14, 2011 and good as new. I shall remember in my thoughts and prayers.
P.S. Please remember me to Dr. Varghese, Dr. Ahmed, and Dr. Broumand.
I want to say how much I appreciate and stand in awe of the virtuoso mitral valve and tricuspid valve surgery you, Dr. Tang and Dr. Varghese performed on me last Monday. Although I was "not there" for the event, I understand that the mitral valve presented complex issues and required a great deal of skill, knowledge, experience and artistry; I am certain that, as I heard, yours is the only surgical team in NYC who could have repaired that valve instead of replacing it. To me as a cyclist and runner, that outcome makes possible an event free life with respect to my mitral valve. The incision on my chest is so straight and deftly done that I was joking with the medical staff on 7W that I wished you had autographed it. The fact that no transfusion was required speaks volumes about what meticulous attention you and your team pay to every aspect of the surgery.
Once I regained consciousness, I could witness the professionalism of your team in action in the ICU and Cardiac Step Down unit. Despite the fact I am no doctor, it was clear I was in the presence of some worldclass talent. In particular, Dr. Tang was with me for multiple days, including this last weekend, tracking my recovery carefully and thoroughly. Drs. Chan and Weiss were also contributors to make sure things went smoothly along the way.
In every way I could see, your PA Joel Estabillo was excellent. Beyond the talent he displayed in pulling my chest tubes, he was always full of energy, had a smile on his face and listened well. He did wonders for me as a patient, discussing my case in terms I could understand and otherwise building my confidence and sense of well-being.
Finally, I want to say that before I came up to NYC for this event, working with Terese King in your office was a joy. She was totally responsive - returned calls and answered emails in real time, to make sure that we provided "the test results and materials you needed, kept straight on dates, and answered my questions.
There are others on your team who treated me and whose names I am not recalling at this moment, and there are likely other contributors behind the scenes; I apologize for omitting their names here but am grateful to them as well.
In sum, I feel so very fortunate to have connected with you and your team. What you have done literally makes all the difference in the world ror me, every day I go forward in life.
From: James E. Sent: December 19, 2011 To: Kearns, Teresa
Holiday greetings from Palo Alto, and please give my greetings to Dr. Adams, Dr. Varghese, Dr. Tang and the entire team who did a perfect job repairing my mitral and tricuspid valves. I continue to appreciate that you all were able to repair the valve (instead of having to replace it) despite the complex and serious issues it presented, and I am so thankful that I travelled to Mt. Sinai to have you and your team do the surgery. It's been 4 months since surgery and I am back full tilt running, cycling and doing my Ashtanga yoga - literally, good to go. When I am out in the morning running around the Stanford campus, or biking to work or up in the Santa Cruz hills, I often recall that I have you all to thank for the freedom and the joy. You are the absolute best.
Via the attached photo, my Australian Shepards, Chip (the blue one) and Bro (red), also wish you Happy Holidays.
Chris P. - California
March 25, 2011
Dear Dr. Adams and staff at the Mitral Valve Repair Center,
Please add this to the long list of testimonials that you no doubt have collected from past patients who have benefited from your ground-breaking mitral valve program at Mt Sinai Hospital.
My procedure was performed now almost three years ago in July of 2008, but I am hoping that the fact that my outstanding results and state of health at this time will underscore the accolades I think you and your program deserve in this late coming thank you.
My situation was unique at the time in 2008 as I was coming to you with complications stemming from a failed mitral valve repair performed by my health care provider out here in California. I had been very physically active in work and recreation up to that first operation. The repair soon proved to be inadequate to even provide minimum cardiac function for normal daily activities much less the vigorous road bicycling that had been my passion for thirty years.
My discovery of your program in New York with its dedication to advancing techniques allowing mitral repair versus valve replacement was encouraging news in the otherwise dark days after the first repair attempt. I quickly contacted the Repair Center and set out on the path for a re-repair. A date was set and my HMO agreed to cover all costs for the procedure and hospital stay. I felt the resulting hospital experience at Mt. Sinai was excellent and highly supportive both physically and psychologically. I felt I was a good judge of the patient experience as I had already racked up some firsthand background in that department. The complicated procedure was executed by the team headed by Dr. Adams and I walked into the fresh air of Central Park just over a week later.
The true test has been how well I was able get back to the active life that I hoped awaited me back in California. I am happy to relate that I am back to my bicycling again on the challenging, steep mountain roads that lie just outside my door in Sonoma County north of San Francisco. My heart has performed as normally as I could have ever hoped for as it powers me over these coastal hills that I so dearly love. I take no medications and have only my legs to blame for not spinning up these climbs any faster.
Thank you Dr. Adams and all the talented staff there at the Mitral Valve Repair Center for making my story be one of complete recovery and a happy expectation of a healthy and long life ahead.
From: Chris P. Sent: November 11, 2008 To: Adams, David Subject: Good news from California
Dear Dr. Adams,
All goes terrifically well with the MV re-repair on July 11th this year. I'm on my bicycle and using gears on these local hills that I have not used for some time even before my first surgery. No symptoms, no drama. My cardiologist at Kaiser SF, Dr. Jonathan Zoroff, has mentioned that my case and Mt. Sinai results are being circulated and that changes are being instituted in cardiac surgery as a result. Fewer surgeons will be doing mitral valves so those that do have the volume to become adept at the challenges involved. 3D echocardiograms will now be done routinely to map the valve preoperatively. A supine bicycle stress echo set-up will be in place soon. I will be one of the first users. The results will be added to my file and be used in presentations.
It even seems that Dr Zoroff might contact you regarding having you come out and do some education. This all makes the long hard road
getting to my present health that much more rewarding. It will reap unexpected rewards for others perhaps.
Well, I will soon send the promised photo of me ascending one of my favorite hills. Thank you again for your all your care and expertise. Any time you want me to show up at a presentation and perform on the stationary bike, just call.
Julie & Paul K. - New Jersey
Sent: February 10, 2011 To: Adams, David; Anyanwu, Anelechi Subject: 6 months Post Operative
Wow, where does the time go to? Not sure myself but I am writing you 6 months post operative when you set me back on course in life with a corrected SAM condition, mitral valve repair and two annuloplasty rings in and around my heart. I know you and Dr. Ani are so very busy but I just wanted to thank you both yet again for taking the time with my case to correct my condition (I was a re-repair). My wife Julie and I are SOOOOOOOO happy to have been able to find both of you and receive such excellent service; I have to say it is a life altering experience. Just imagine, running a flight of stairs without running out of breath, returning to an exercise regiment and resuming a normal lifestyle instead of clutching at your chest, gasping for air.
I also was so taken with the post operative care that when I came in for my one month checkup, Julie and I went back to Intensive Care to thank everyone there who helped me through those first couple of days. I could not have done it without you, Dr. Ani and the intensive care gang! I will be sure to put together some photos upon my return from Daytona! For the record, I went back to work four weeks out and to this day, nobody in my industry was ever aware I even had the surgery. It's so good to be able to breathe!
I cannot say THANK YOU enough times but I'll say until you and Dr. Ani are tired of hearing it! I also hope my surgery did NOT impede your golf swing! All the best to you and your team Dr. Adams, you're a life saver!
Robert P. - New Jersey
This video was taken during the American Heart Association Heart Walk in NYC, June 24, 2010.
From: Robert P. - New Jersey
Sent: December 15, 2009
To: King, Therese
Today is my first year anniversary for open heart surgery performed by Dr. Adams and his team. I feel fantastic thanks to the efforts of the folks at Mt. Sinai.
When the people that helped me pass by your desk today, please give them a special thank you from me (a hug too!) on this very special day.
Happy Holidays to all!!
Frank G. - New York
December 29, 2010
Dear Dr. Adams,
How can I begin to thank you and your wonderful staff for the absolutely great work you have done for me. My wife, Mary, and I were initially so afraid of the mitral valve repair surgery, but from the very beginning to my discharge from Mount Sinai you and your staff instilled such warmth, professionalism, and confidence that any concerns we may have had completely disappeared.
Dr. Adams, you are the first doctor I have ever met that said exactly what I say to my patients, and that is “you'll do for me what you yourself would want done if this were you”. That statement, your gifts, and your gentle warmth made all the difference!
Because of your God-given talents I enjoyed a very blessed Christmas with my wife, Mary, and my two little boys, Frankie (five years old) and Dominic (three years old), and what's more, I am sure I will enjoy many more healthy and happy years with my family.
Thank you, David, for all you do! Please extend my sincere thanks to your wonderful staff, including Dr. Robin, Dr. Federico Milla, Dr. Ahmed, Leemor, Teresa, Terry, MaryAnn, Maura, Ava, Sean, and Joel. All of you have made the most wonderful difference in improving my health and quality of life - but thanks most of all for giving me the greatest gift of life to share for many more years with my wife and two little sons. Who knows, maybe Frankie or Dominic may someday go to Med school and apply to your fantastic program at Mount Sinai - for you are certainly an inspiration for my family!.
I look forward to referring many patients to you for I am an extremely pleased walking advertisement for you! Mitral and tricuspid valve repair surgery on December 14th, and back home five days later, on December 18th - amazing!
Again, thank you so very much! I look forward to seeing you again in a few weeks.
May God always bless you, your family, and your staff.
It has been five months since my surgery and I wanted to let you both know that I am doing very well. It's not easy to find out at 30 yrs old that you need open heart surgery but thanks to you and your team I had the best experience possible at Mount Sinai. When I found out I needed surgery I spent hours on the internet looking for the right doctor. When I saw that your website was devoted entirely to mitral valve repair and not replacement, I knew that you were the right doctors for me. Initially I was concerned about having the surgery via thoracotomy because I was afraid it would be more painful. I was surprised to find that I had only mild pain after surgery. Three days after I was discharged my husband and I were enjoying a July 4th BBQ with our friends. I am signed up to run my first road race in two weeks, hopefully a few minutes faster than before my surgery. I have included a picture of me from my best friend's wedding in October, in a black dress that I felt comfortable wearing because of the thoracotomy. I hope that the pictures will help other people feel good about the choice they make to have mitral valve surgery, it really is worth it. I will never find the words to thank you for what you did for me and my family.
I would also like to thank you for recommending Dr. Martin. He is an excellent doctor and says that my repair looks as good as it did the day after surgery. All the best to you and your staff, and thank you again.
John C. - Idaho
I'm feeling great. Haven't hit a golf ball yet but I'm ready. I'll be going back to work 9/13.
I want to thank you for giving me a new look on life.
If you should ever get out this way look us up.
How do you thank someone for saving your life. You did something that I believe no one else in the world could do. We could never than you enough for all that you did. You are amazing and you absolutely “light up a room” when you walk in. I thank God for your skill and compassion every day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
P.S. We'd love to show you the best golf courses in the world - oops I mean in Idaho :-).
You are an answer to my prayer for life. I cannot thank you enough for listening to the voice of God and giving me many more years to live here on earth with my husband and family. I so desperately wanted to live and you gave me that second chance. Thank you for taking such good care of me. It must be a very rewarding feeling to know that the gift God has given you to help others and save lives.
Hey Jo, I had another annual echo done and am faxing it to you later today. I feel great, Jo and always tell people how I found you guys and the wonderful work your entire team did in saving my life back on July 17, 2008. My only regret was that I went in to surgery with the remnants of a chest cold (should have deferred surgery--I had a tiny bit of phlegm in the lungs) and I ended up having a collapsed lung during surgery. Came out of surgery in ICU in critical condition, but thanks to your team, I survived. I will never for get you. I hope and pray that Dr. Adams has trained several of you to continue his work after he moves on. And I can only imagine how each case presents different challenges. The type of repair you do is a blend of science and art and I feel like a million bucks. I am back to swimming the mile in the pool (72 lengths) and walk five miles through the forest. I also do Civil War reenacting and gallop my horse through the woods, ducking tree limbs and shooting my rifle and pistol from the saddle. (attached photo of us watering our horses).
OK, Jo, thanks again.
PS: My younger daughter is doing a great job as a PA at Wake Forest Medical Center. She loves the medical profession. Other daughter (BSN) is going for her Nurse Practitioner degree. Life is good.
Linda S. - New Jersey
Sent: Thur, June 10, 2010
To: Adams, David
Subject: Linda S. -Thank you!
Dear Dr. Adams,
Today is the fifth anniversary of the new life you gave to me on June 10, 2005.
Due to the brilliant surgery you preformed on my heart, I have had these five years, and hopefully many more to enjoy all that life has to offer.
My husband Mike, my son Darren and the rest of my family will always be grateful for what you have given us.
I walked Darren down the aisle at his wedding... and danced all night with Mike...I hiked in and out of Petra in Jordan on our recent trip to Israel...Thank you for all that and more!
I wish you and your family good health, joyful lives and peaceful love.
I will never forget you!
With sincere thanks and gratitude from the bottom of my repaired heart,
Theresa C. - New Jersey
Sent: April 09, 2010
To: Bingham, Catherine
Subject: Theresa C. recovery
Thanks again for all your help and care. Everyone... and I mean everyone... at the hospital were so kind, caring and helpful. I had nothing but a positive experience at Mt. Sinai and will forever be thankful for Dr. Adams, Dr. Chikwe and Dr. Robin Varghese and the entire cardiac team. I will also remember John Gomez in housekeeping who always had a smile and kind word for the patients.
I am a 53 year old woman who was diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation. Before the surgery, I could not go through the day without taking a long nap in the earlly evening. I was exhausted every day. It has now been 5 weeks since my mitral valve repair surgery, and I can not believe the remarkable difference in how I feel. I can go through the day without a nap and have more energy than I had in a long time. I am walking on the treadmill for a half hour a day, and hope to increase that amount to an hour real soon. Next, I am going to start cardio rehab to build my strength and endurance.
My repair surgery was done through an incision under the right breast. I wanted to try this approach for a couple of reasons. First, I felt my recovery would be faster since my sternum would not have to be broken to gain access to my heart. Also, although not my main concern, cosmetically this is a superior choice especially for women. If you look at my chest now, you would not even be able to guess that I just had open heart surgery, The incision has healed beautifully, and since it is under the breast fold you can not even see it.
The surgery itself went remarkably well. I had no issues of severe pain. In fact, my only issues were the breathing tube and a burning sensation in my right leg. The incision site has never been uncomfortable or caused me any pain. In fact, I only took tylenol and a pain killer the first week at home. Since then I have taken no pain killers. I feel great and have to remind myself that I had open heart surgery. I had a positive experience at Mt. Sinai Hospital from my initial consultation with Dr. Adams to my surgery and follow-up with Dr. Chikwe. Everyone was so kind and helpful.
As for the future, I plan to use weights to build my strength and to keep on walking.I plan to walk further and faster than before my mitral valve repair surgery. This summer I will enjoy swimming and floating down the lazy river at our vacation condo in South Carolina.
Margaret O. - New Jersey
Sent: Wed, April 07, 2010
To: Adams, David
Dear Dr. Adams and Staff,
It has been two months since my aortic valve replacement surgery and I am doing extremely well. My recovery was easy and except for a little soreness in the area of the incision I feel great- healthy,strong and energetic. I will be returning to my job as a school counselor full time next week.
My family and I were very impressed with the professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with my surgery. When I had to be taken back to the operating room after my intial surgery because of a platelet issue, my mother (a retired nurse) was especially impressed with the coordination of the team in quickly diagnosing and solving the problem.
When I fond out that I had severe aortic stenosis at 52 and that I would need valve replacement surgery, I told my cardiologist that I wanted the best surgeon in the best hospital to operate and he directed me to Dr. Adams and Mount Sinai. I know I was given the best care in the world! No one can believe that I underwent two surgeries on a Tuesday and was home walking around and up and down the stairs on Saturday with no difficulty and that I will be back at work within 10 weeks.
Thank you all for fixing my broken heart.
Diane P. - New York
April 2, 2010
Well it has been 8 months since my Mitral Valve re-op and repair of my Tricuspid Valve, and a year since meeting the incomparable Dr. David H. Adams.
Around this time last year, I was undergoing a series of test to determine if I needed a re-op on my Mitral Valve. The news came and it was so surreal. Overwhelmed but most of all scared, my cardiologist took one look at me and advised me to have my surgery at Mt. Sinai, and that Dr. David H. Adams would perform the surgery with his world-renown team.
All I could think of at that moment was how twenty one years ago I made it through my first surgery at 28. I was young, strong and feared nothing. Now at 49, I was extremely vulnerable and all I wanted was to celebrate my 50th birthday with my family and friends.
On April 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm my friend and confidante Andi V., Dr. Adams, Dr. Anyanwu and I sat and discussed timing and a course of action for my surgery. This was like no other meeting as I would be making a choice to extend the quality of my life for however long possible.
Drs. Adams and Anyanwu spoke to me with the utmost respect, professionalism and ease. For awhile there, I lost myself as we were all talking like we had been friends for years. They reminisced about the intricate surgeries they worked on and I, talked about my 29 year battle with valve disease. It was exciting to listen to them. Dr. Adams was enthusiastic and excited as only a doctor could be about a re-op when told who my surgeon was back in 1988. Seeing Dr. Adams excited made me excited as well, as I knew I was going to be part of something special and I was going to get better. At the end of our meeting, Dr. Adams reassured me that I would be at my 50th birthday party.
Dr. Adams, you are an extraordinary man with the gift of healing in your hands. I shall never forget you, Dr. Anyanwu, Dr. Akujuo, Joel, and all the nurses which I knew many of them by their first names by the end of my stay. (Lol)
Thank you all so very much for giving me a second lease on life.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your exceptional care and dedication. I have been blessed with fabulous doctors who have given me such a rich and wonderful life. My life over the past 30 years has been helping others reach their fitness goals. My career as a fitness professional has brought me so much satisfaction and joy to my days. This month I have had the opportunity to teach yoga in Mexico. When I arrived I was asked if I would like to teach aqua aerobics!! Honestly, since my surgery 2 years ago, I have been cautious about my cardio intensity...not sure why, still a little scared my heart would not perform, I guess..Anyway, I am back to teaching Spinning, Aerobics, Power walking, Strength Training and of course, my yoga and Pilates practice. It has taken me awhile, and I know at 62 years old, I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have my health. I am so grateful for all your expertise and guidance in helping me be there for my students, husband, children, grandchildren. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you, The best gifts are from the heart. You are the best!!
Hilary E. - California
Sent: Wed, Feb 10, 2010
To: Adams, David
Deciding to have open-heart surgery as an asymtomatic 28 year old girl was incredibly difficult. I had always known about my mitral-valve prolapse (my dad heard my murmur when I was seven). I have had echocardiogram’s ever since I can remember and they had been consistent until a stress echo where my ejection fraction was reported at 53-55 and it had been above 60 a year before on the same stress test. Within the next few weeks my cardiologist told me I would need surgery soon.
I went to see several cardiothoracic surgeons and surprisingly had been told a wide range of opinions and approaches from surgeons making my decision even more difficult. It was a confusing process to know what information to believe and whose word to trust. Fortunately, I had done some research about my condition with my Mom that revealed the advantages of getting a valve repaired instead of replaced as a young female patient. One website we looked at was Dr. David Adams’ site at mitralvalverepair.org. We found current information that made me hopeful of getting a repair and scheduled an appointment at Mt. Sinai’s specialty center in New York. Dr. Adams was the first surgeon to look me in the eye and explain in simple terms what was going on inside my body. He also said, with certainty, that my mitral valve could be repaired. It was upsetting and relieving all at once.
It was a long doctor’s appointment, one that my Mom and I both cried during. When we left, it was clear that surgery was medically necessary soon; but, more importantly, I trusted Dr. Adams. He was the first surgeon to say my valve was something he sees and operates on often (a Barlow’s valve), what a relief! I am now more than a year post-op (Dr. Adams repaired my valve on 9/9/08) and I can say with confidence that after all the stress and wondering about this life-changing decision, surgery was a good choice. My mitral valve no longer leaks and I’m back to a happy, active lifestyle.
Stacey K. - Pennsylvania
February 7, 2010
Dear Dr. Adams and Staff,
My husband, Mark and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all so very much for the wonderful experience that you have provided to us during a very challenging time in my life. Without the incredible range of medical expertise, hospital care, service and follow up, I am confidant that my open-heart surgery would not have been nearly as successful. However, it was an overwhelmingly huge success because it was done at Mt. Sinai with all of you as a team.
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse. Last year, I began to develop symptoms of extreme shortness of breath with minor daily activities and fatigue. During a routine checkup with my cardiologist, the doctor suggested that the echocardiogram may not be picking up the most severe of the prolapse and that I should have a Trans Esophageal Echochardiogram (TEE). After completing the TEE, the physician came out and told my husband that immediate surgery was needed and thus, we began the search to find Dr. Adams and staff.
We searched the internet and consulted with family for the best surgeons for this type of procedure, found Dr. Adams and called his office to discuss the possibility of making an appointment. The office staff was more than accommodating and fit us in for a consultation with Dr. Adams the very next day.
My consultation was with Dr. Adams and Dr. Chikwe. Both surgeons specifically articulated the problems with my mitral valve and how it would be fixed. At the conclusion of the consultation, we felt that it was in my best interest to book a surgery with him. Dr. Adams performs a large number of these specific types of heart surgeries per week and Mt. Sinai is considered a "Super Center" for heart surgeries and therefore I wanted to be in the best hands.
On surgery day, I was treated like I was the first priority and everything was explained thoroughly. Dr. Chikwe also came in to say hello before surgery. Although Dr. Adams was completing the valve repair, Dr. Chikwe was going to open and close my incision, so I asked if there was anything she could do to minimize the size of my scar so that I could wear dresses and bathing suits.
Of course I was very nervous, who would expect that at 28 years old I would have to have open-heart surgery! However, after a long day in the operating room (which I'm happy that I was under general anesthesia for) my operation was complete.
I was in the ICU for 4 days, as it took longer than expected to get the anesthesia out of my body and control my heart rate. However, all was fine and my valve was perfect! My husband and parents told me that the nurses in the ICU were constantly monitoring my vitals and almost never left their computers and my bedside. Because of them, I could be transferred into the cardiac step down unit where I continued to improve each day.
A few weeks after my surgery, I began cardiac rehab where I strengthened my heart and muscles again through walking, biking and very light amounts of weight bearing activities. After a few months of rehab, I was interviewed for an article in the Rehabilitation magazine called "Standing Strong." It was an article discussing the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation for people recovering from heart problems and surgery at any age. I have continued to heal over the past year and my scar looks amazing! I have been able to wear low cut tops, dresses and bathing suits just like any other girl.
Almost one year later, now at the age of 29, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to live my life again to the fullest with a healthy heart and a sincere gratitude to Dr. Adams and his staff of amazing physicians, nurses and staff I will always have a special place in my heart for the wonderful professionals that I had taking care of me.
I am sorry that I did not get to see you when I came in for my post-operative appointment. Even though I thanked you for a successful surgery on the day I was discharged, I wanted to personally let you know how well the scar healed and that all of the medical individuals (doctors, nurses, technicians) I dealt with during my recover were totally amazed by the incision and how well it healed.
I also wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you were able to schedule my surgery so quickly. In fact, the surgery was scheduled and my pre-op testing was complete before I even met you. We met for the first time after I had the cardiac catheterization and surgery was scheduled five days later. It was all so fast and, of course, I was quite scared but I do remember clearly what you said to me at that time, “You are in good hands.” I kept that thought with me until the operation. I knew of your skills with mitral valve repair but your calm and comforting manner is what gave me the reassurance I needed.
I had a number of complications during my recovery and was hospitalized locally twice, each time for a few days. However, once I overcame these obstacles, I was able to return to work two months after the surgery on a part-time schedule. Since I was able to handle that schedule, I increased my hours and am back working full-time.
All I can say is that your team is phenomenal; the administrative team handled all of my paperwork within a short period of time and the medical team monitored my recovery diligently. I can only thank each and everyone for making a very traumatic experience manageable for me.
It has been 5 months since my open heart surgery at Mount Sinai. Surgeon Dr. David Adams and assistant surgeon Dr. Adanna Akujuo repaired my Mitral Valve and closed the hole in my heart. You worked miracles. You and your entire cardiac team are amazing. I am fortunate and grateful that you were my surgeon. You are someone that I will never forget and I cannot thank you enough. Each day that passes, I am reminded of how thankful I am that you changed my life. My wife, Jaclyn and I and children think very highly of you. You will always be remembered in our family.
The experience I had with you and your team was incredible and wonderful. Jose, Theresa King, Frank and Teresa were extremely helpful. Each time, my wife, Jaclyn called the office, they were sure to answer all questions. Your staff is pleasant and made the whole scary experience better. Edith is an amazing nurse with a lot of experience. She explained everything in detail and just made the entire situation better. She is a caring nurse with a wonderful manner. Your staff is well trained, professional and knowledgeable.
The first time my wife, Jaclyn and I met you and Dr. Anelechi Anyanwu in consultation, we knew immediately that you would be the surgeon for me. You showed us how confident you are and it showed that you had a great bed side manner. Your passion and perfection for repairing valves was remarkable.
I consider you to be the very best surgeon and I would absolutely recommend you to anyone in need of Mitral Valve repair.
Once again, my family and I cannot thank you enough for what you have done to make sure that I am alive and healthy today.
I am 48 years old and I’ve always had Mitral Valve Prolapse. I went to my regular physician for my yearly physical in July of 2009. He didn’t like the sound of my heart and he scheduled me for an echocardiogram. A week later I got a call from my Cardiologist, he told me that I needed open heart surgery. I was shocked but OK.
When I learned what was involved and that I would have a scar down my chest, it upset me. My cardiologist referred me to Dr. David Adams to discuss mitral valve repair surgery.
I had called Dr. Adams’ office and spoke with Leemor. She arranged an appointment for me to meet with Dr. Adams. Leemor was on top of things; if I had any questions I would just pick up the phone and she was always there for me.
I went to meet with Dr. Adams on September 2, 2009. He explained what was wrong
with me. I had Mitral Valve Regurgitation. Dr. Adams explained the procedure that I would undergo to fix my leaky heart valve. I was very comfortable with his decision.
Dr. Adams reviewed his schedule with me and we chose a date for my surgery – September 18, 2009. I went to meet with Therese King. Terry set up all of my pre-surgical appointments and made sure that everything went smoothly – she even made my hotel reservations for me!
Terry and Leemor took care of any paper work that had to be done. They were both there for me every step of the way and provided me with moral support. When I was in the hospital they even came to visit me – I felt so special!
Dr. Adams performed my open heart surgery on September 18, 2009. He did a mitral valve repair and put a ring around my valve to stop the leak. That Valve is called my “RING OF LIFE” and my scar is “MY LIFE LINE”.
Thank you Dr. Adams and the team, you saved my life. If I didn’t have a ring or a scar I might not be here to tell my story. The surgery went great. After surgery I went to the ICU where I was treated with the best of care. Thank you Nurse Corazon (Cory) Catlico and all the other ICU nurses. I was in ICU overnight and moved to another floor where I was treated for the next 4 days. While in the hospital I only had to take five pain pills total. Due to the perfect surgery that Dr. Adams performed I never had pain, just a little discomfort.
I was discharged from the hospital on September 23, 2009 and I’m doing very well. I do my walks twice day since the day after I got out of the hospital. I did return twice for my check up and everything was great. Dr. .Adams is my LIFE SAVER. I still remain friends with Leemor. Well, everyone there is my friend forever. The pictures are from six days after my surgery and 5 weeks my scar has healed - WHAT SCAR?????
I am expecting my first grandchild in December and because of Dr. Adams and his wonderful team I will be able to live a long, happy, healthy life!!!!
My Sincere Thanks to Dr. Adams and Team
Jeannie (Jean) M.
Gerald G. - Florida
December 12, 2009
Dr. David Adams and staff
Just a few lines to let you know how I am progressing since you replaced my Aortic valve and repaired my Mitral and Tricuspid valve, on Aug. 6th 2009. I can tell you now, that I did not realize what a difference this surgery has made in my life. The coughing, shortness of breath and having to sleep with at least three pillows are all gone now, along with the fear of heart failure. After carrying around those symptoms for all those years, a person can forget how life can be without them.
My cardiologist in Rockland county NY, Dr. A. Beniaminovitz, was thrilled when I told her that you had done the surgery. She said she sends all her very difficult cases to you. Since we have returned to Florida, I have learned of other people who have had to have their valves repaired again, by you after having their original surgery done down here.
Since our return to Florida on Sept. 23rd I have increased my walking routine to at least five miles a day (2 miles morning and 3 miles afternoon) with no problems. Now if I can get my knees to keep up with my heart I’d be in tip top shape. There is an ocean of people down here with leaky valves and I have touted your expertise to who ever will listen.
Once again I thank you and your very able staff and also the excellent Mt. Sinai Hospital staff for all you have done for me.
I found Dr. Adams to be extremely upfront and forthright, explaining what he proposed to do and answering all my wife's and my questions in a caring and patient manner. My cardiologist told me that in any other place they probably would have done a replacement instead of a repair when they found I needed both mitral valve leaflets repaired after I was opened up. To that I am very grateful.
Up until July 2009, I was the picture of good health with no medical problems and at age 54 I considered that pretty good. So it was somewhat disconcerting last July to find that my heart was starting to beat irregularly from time to time but the occasions were happening with more frequency. I seemed to be tired most of the time but that I chalked up to working nights, having 2 jobs and chasing after my 2 small children. Anyway, I made an appointment with a local cardiologist and hoped to get a "magic pill" to make my heart beat normally again, Boy, was I in for a surprise.
I was told that I needed surgery and would need it pretty quickly as I had a very severe mitral valve regurgitation. Dr. Buckley, my cardiologist, had taken the liberty of contacting Dr. Adams at Mt. Sinai and had discussed my case with him already. He told me that Dr. Adams was the best at valve repair and that Mt. Sinai was one of the leading hospitals in the field of cardiac care.
I found that advice to be 100% correct. Dr. Adams met with my wife and I very quickly. We both found him to be extremely pleasant, patient and answered all our questions without hesitation. He told me what he would have to do regarding surgery and how, with what he could see on my echocardiogram. Any question or concern that we had, he was able to address. As a result we felt completely comfortable with him and I made the appointment for Mitral Valve repair that day.
I can truthfully say that from start to finish I did not have any unpleasant experiences throughout my surgery. From the admitting staff , to the cardiac cath lab staff, to the OR staff, CSICU staff (though I don't remember much of that aspect of my stay) and to floor staff, everyone was first rate and took an interest in my case.
It is now 6 months since I had my surgery, I feel great. I'm back to my 2 jobs and chasing my kids around but now I can catch them. I thank Dr. Adams for giving them a father for a long time.
Adam F. - South Carolina
It has been nine months and one day since my surgery at Mt. Sinai. First, I would like to thank my wife, without her research, finding Mt. Sinai and Dr. Adams, I probably would not be here today. Everyone in your office from Jose to Therese King made everything so easy during my operation and time there. It is a true pleasure to be treated with such professionalism from the moment you step into the hospital until the day you leave. I would like to recognize the whole team at Mt. Sinai for making the experience I had seem as if it was an everyday routine.
I came to Mt. Sinai having had Mitral Valve Repair in 2003. Two years after the operation I was getting out of breath climbing stairs or doing anything physical. It was later revealed that I had Mitral Stenosis. Several doctors told me that I needed a Mitral Valve Replacement. Upon having a TEE, my mitral valve was barely moving. During the initial consult on December 10, 2008 with Dr. Adams, he stated that he was not sure if he could do the repair or not. I later found out that my case was a first for Dr. Adams. After studying my echo with Dr. Anyanwu, Dr. Adams stated that he could not guarantee he could repair the valve, however, he would spend four to six hours trying to see if he could. I stressed greatly that I wanted to have the valve saved, as I wanted to obtain a private pilot’s license and if one has an artificial valve they are ineligible to receive one.
Dr. Adams said that if we had any chance of repairing my valve, we would have to operate very soon. When we walked out of his office to talk to his staff, they all just stood there with blank stares, he stated that he had promised he would not schedule another surgery during 2008, however, my condition being so serious did not allow for any time to wait until the New Year to operate. My surgery was scheduled for December 23, 2008. Although my surgery was during the holiday season, it turned out to be the best Christmas ever for my wife and four children. My family came to New York from South Carolina during the time I had surgery, and after 8 hours 3 minutes, my family was notified to meet Drs. Adams and Anyanwu in Dr. Adams’ office. When Dr. Adams arrived to meet my family, he had a huge smile on his face, he told my wife and children that he not only saved my mitral valve, he also repaired my tricuspid valve. He told my family that I would be able to fly! Today, I am feeling better than I have in years and can run up stairs and mow the lawn with no difficultly at all.
I would also like to mention the staff in the CTICU. Dr. Scurlock and his staff are to be commended for the top rate care given to me, as well as all of the patients in the CTICU. Dr. Gregory Fischer, Dr. Anyanwu, and Dr Scurlock made themselves available for any issues with care or questions as to what I could expect during my stay there. I would also like to thank the nurses; Veronica, Velma, Sue, Jen and all the others that participated in the excellent care I received while in the CTICU.
I return to Mt. Sinai for my follow up appointment on October 2, 2009 with Dr. Bruce Darrow. I hope that I will be able to see some of my caregivers who helped me through the tough times following my surgery and made my Christmas and New Years the best ever.
It is because of the dedication of Dr. David Adams and the Mt. Sinai team that I am able to say, if anyone needs mitral valve treatment, Mt Sinai is the place to go.
On August 28th, it will be one year since you replaced my aortic valve. I am happy to report that if it wasn't for your skill that I, probably, would not still be looking at the grass from the green side.
My recovery has been 100%. And, I have resumed all my physical activities. Although, I still either slice the ball or hook it on occasion. I was hoping that you could have tweeked something to correct my golf game, but, I guess, you can't have everything.
During my stay at Mt. Sinai, your colleagues and staff were most professional, attentive and accommodating to me. Please thank them for me.
Ten months have passed since you and your team performed my mitral valve repair. I wanted to thank you and your staff for squeezing me into your schedule so that I could have six months of recovery time with the hope that I would be able to test for my Black Belt exam at Barley’s Karate. In April 2009, I was able to test and “pass” my Black Belt exam with my wife Kerri. Our children Meagan and Michael are already Black Belts. Without you and your team’s expertise, dedication and caring this goal would not have been possible. Thanks again.
Zach K. - California
Sent: Wed, July 22, 2009
Subject: Mitral Valve Repair Patient
When I found out I would need to undergo heart surgery at only 18 I was crushed. I thought it would mean the end of riding motocross for me, which is my biggest passion in life.
Being from California, my parents and I were somewhat apprehensive to travel all the way to New York when my cardiologist recommended Dr. Adams to preform the surgery. However after getting the the highest chance of a successful repair from Dr. Adams, we made the the trip to Mount Sinai.
It turned out to be the best decision of my life to date. Just four months after having my Mitral valve successfully repaired I was at the track riding again. I am extremely thankful for Dr. Adam’s and his staff, who made the whole ordeal much easier than I would have thought possible, and handled every aspect in a professional, yet caring way. I felt well taken care of from the day I arrived to the day I left the hospital.
Thank you so much for everything!
Zach K. #210
Mike F. - New Orleans, LA
Sent: Wed, July 22, 2009
Subject: a great result from a great surgeon!
You may remember me as a white, blind court reporter from New Orleans married now for 28 years to Mignon and together we have 5 wonderful children. I will be 52 tomorrow and thanks to you, I am in great shape. In January of 2007 with no medical background and through the grace of God, I accidentally discovered and ultimately correctly self-diagnosed a severe mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation. After 5 months of hoping it was something else and would soon go away, I finally went to see a local cardiologist and confirmed the diagnosis I previously suspected. After having done much research on the problem and its cure, I located what I thought at the time to be the absolute best surgeon in the world for fixing the broken leaflets of my mitral valve. I then immediately phoned you and had a very comforting conversation wherein you assured me that once you finished my surgical repair , I would “walk out of the hospital as God made me.” Thanks to your gracious help and accomodations, I flew into New York City on August 15, 2007, went through the catheterization and all preliminary testing on August 16, and then surgery by you on the morning of August 17, 2007.
Facing the condition, the surgical cure, all its risks, and New York City itself was extremely frightening and intimidating. However, from the moment I met you face to face in your office at Mt. Sinai, I felt an immediate sense of calm and security. Painful as the immediate recovery was, I was able to fly back home to New Orleans and my 5 kids on August 26, 2007. Immediately following my discharge from Mt. Sinai 5 days after surgery, I began a stringent and intense self-rehabilitating program. I was released from Mt. Sinai sometime around noon, and that evening my wife and I were strolling through Central Park. Three days later on August 25 in an attempt to show my wife the town and to reward her for all her prior suffering, prayers, and dedication to my well-being, she and I took a bus and toured Times Square and all its surroundings. The walk was slow and somewhat stressful, but very entertaining and physically rewarding.
My rehab continued from the moment I got home and my progress was rather remarkable. I was told by you and all the research I conducted that I would be out of work for 6 - 8 weeks following surgery. It may interest you to know, though, that on the 13th day following my open heart mitral valve repair, I took my first deposition. I never turned back other than to think of the sincerest appreciation I have for you and your wonderful staff. I have enclosed herein some photographs that you may find entertaining. The first is of you, my wife and I in your office on my last visit prior to my return home. The second photo is of me changing my oil one month post-surgery. The subsequent photos were taken of me at my oldest son’s wedding on August 8, 2008 just shy of one year post-surgery. Incidentally, the last picture is not upside down.......
David, on a personal note, I am one who never forgets to say thank you. Everyone has a job, but not everyone does their best at it. You are more than good at what you do. I hope you are as proud of your work as I am of you. It is unfortunate that our paths may not ever cross again, but please know that it is my wish that they will. You are not just an excellent surgeon, but a wonderful man and a fine human being.
May God bless you and all that you do.
With my deepest sincerity and warmest regards, the president of your New Orleans Fan Club,
Michelle O. - New Jersey
Sent: Thur, July 09, 2009
Subject: Michelle O.
Dr. Adams and team are an exceptional group of people. I was truly blessed to be under their care. My very first experience with his office starting with the initial contact to set up a consultation was pleasant. Jose was so kind and patient with me in my panicked state and calmed me down and forgave my “short” attitude with him. Dr. Chikwe then assured me that I would be okay and would be in good hands. The road to being in “good hands” was a tough one that required a fight.
I am a 27yr old female who had no idea that I was in need of open heart surgery because I was asymptomatic. In 2006, I went to school for training in Cardiac Ultrasound. After graduating the course, I immediately started my externship as a cardiac ultrasound technician with a cardiologist in New Jersey. It was during the last day of my externship that I learned that I would need a mitral valve repair. One of the incoming externs did a practice echocardiogram on me and the Cardiologist saw my study. He informed me that I would need open heart surgery because I had severe regurgitation and a little enlarging of the heart due to a prolapsed mitral valve. After absorbing this life changing news, I immediately began to have other tests done and consulted with a cardiothoracic surgeon. After consulting with the cardiothoracic surgeon, I informed my cardiologist of the results of the consultation. My Cardiologist felt uneasy with the consult because I was told by the surgeon that it was not definite that my valve could be repaired and would possibly need to be replaced. My doctor informed me that it was not ideal for me to have a replacement due to my age. He felt I was too young to have a replaced valve and preferred me to have a repair.
My Cardiologist told me about Dr. Adams and sent my study to him. Dr. Adams and Dr. Chikwe reviewed my study and advised my Cardiologist to have me come in for a consult. I consulted with Drs. Adams and Chikwe and felt 100% better after having been assured that he and team could repair my valve.
Seemed easy enough except that I am a New Jersey resident. As a New Jersey resident, my insurance could not be used in New York and my HMO carrier was adamant about not approving my surgery to be done at Mt. Sinai. Because of insurance issues I was then given to the hands of Terri in Dr. Adams office (who is an angel). She provided me with a couple of options to try to appeal my insurance company’s decision. She held my hand through the entire fight and after many denials and appeals back and forth between Dr. Adams’ office and my insurance carrier I recieved a call from the insurance company. My insurance company informed me that they would be approving my request for surgery to take place at Mount Sinai with Dr. Adams because of the persistence of Dr. Adams and his team. They fought to save my life basically. I feel this is extremely important to know because they didnt have to fight the fight with me. They could have easily said sorry your insurance is not accepted here and so we cannot help you. But they did not, because of Dr. Adams and team I feel I was given a second chance at life. Had I not had the repair and instead had a replacement it would have made it difficult for me to bear children in the future or I would have had to have another surgery in about 10-15yrs depending on the type of replaced valve. I am forever grateful to Dr. Adams and the staff at Mount Sinai. I appreciate the Ring so much its as if its Dr. Adams’ halo and he took it and placed it around my heart. It is evident that the pleasantry, respect, & genuine care & concern for the patients is a trickle down effect amongst the staff.
Cynthia T. - California
Sent: Thur, July 09, 2009
I came from California to New York for Dr. Adams to perform my mitral valve repair. His passion for his work came through to me during our initial phone conversation. The valve had calcifications that increased the difficultly of repair. From the very beginning his office “team” was there to help… from checking into my insurance coverage to advice about hotel accommodations. Every team member was knowledgeable, caring & treated me as if I was their only patient! My 4 hour surgery turned into 8 hours & Dr. Adams checked & repaired the tricuspid valve as well. Dr. Adams’ manner is calm, soothing & knowledgeable… I knew I was in the best hands for my situation. I have NO murmur & went from 100% regurgitation to zero on the post op. echocardiogram. The incision was closed by a plastic surgeon from the inside out… NO staples, or external sutures to remove. I would urge anyone given a diagnosis of REPLACEMENT to FIRST be evaluated by Dr. David Adams & his team before going any further with treatment. I was told many times that only a replacement would do in my case. And here I am, REPAIRED & NOT having to deal with Coumadin!!! I will be forever grateful to this most wonderful surgeon & his team at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. They have not only extended my life span… they have saved my lifestyle!! I will be back to riding my horses shortly… not an option if Coumadin was in the picture!!!
Gloria P. - New York
It’s wonderful that some people still have the time to give to others. Thank you for a second chance in life.
I will never forget you and will forever be grateful.
From: Patricia S. - Florida Sent: Tue, Mar 17, 2009 To: King, Therese Subject: another picture for your website
These pictures are of Bill S. (surgery date 4-3-08). The gator was caught by an official ‘Gator Hunter’, Bill and our son Michael in our backyard shortly after we returned home from New York. He was considered ‘small’!
Headline will read…
“4 weeks after Open Heart Surgery Boca man catches Alligator”.
Dr. Adams is going to love this. He is going to put it on his Discharge instruction sheet for new patients. Gator catching can resume 4 weeks post surgery.
Pearl W. - New York
When I learned at 81 1/2 I needed mitral valve surgery and met with Dr. Adams who explained in detail the Carpentier ring repair and hospital stay, my family and I were confident we were in the very best of hands. Everyone from Teresa overlooking the excellent after-care I received with a a team of exceptionally caring nurses, made a frightening open heart procedure comfortable and safe.
A seemingly tireless team of doctors, and Dr. Adams in particular, were there before and post surgery for me. Life four years later is still busy with keeping home with a wonderful husband fo 67 years in a two floor home. We’re still hosting our three children, grandchildren and i was able to play on the floor with a 15 month old great grandbaby. I’ve continued to plant and tend a summer garden, drive locally, read the N.Y. Times, New Yorker, books and attend theater every month in N.Y. riding the L.I.R.R. I’ve slowed up (for me) but at 86 life is full and I feel grateful!
Thank you, thank you to a superb surgical team seemingly imbued with Dr. Adams’ passion for excellence and his profession.
“Thirteen months had passed since you and your team performed mitral valve and tricuspid value surgery on me at Mount Sinai when that picture was taken, a little over a year lived through the prism of my heart, and I now have the opportunity to publicly thank all the wonderful people who made my experience so successful and so transcendentally beautiful.
To Dr. Chikwe, for her daily visits, which was like having a ray of sunshine enter my hospital room; to Dr. Anyanwu, who in his quiet way, was one of my saviors; to Ms. Leventhal, the nurse in the pre-surgical holding area and the operating room, who made me feel that I was on a stage set (“lights, action, cameras”); to Dr. Reich, the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology, who had me laughing as he wheeled me into the operating room and got me so involved in a conversation, that I didn’t know I was about to go under; to Edith, the nurse practitioner, whose no-nonsense approach to my questions, made me keel over in gales of laughter; to Lorna, my day nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, who knew just what medication would ease my pain and who said to me, as I tried to get up from my wheelchair, “Tall and proud, Margaret, tall and proud”; to Theresa Kearns, who scheduled my initial consultation with you, making it seem as if I was going to a delightful tea party and who later visited me in the Intensive Care Unit; and most of all to you, for saving me, for making me whole and for your kindness and compassion.”
To Dr. Adams and the Mount Sinai Mitral Valve Repair Team -
Thank you for repairing my mitral valve and giving me a new lease on life. My surgery was February 2nd, and I’m already up and about, taking 2 mile walks, starting to respond to work e-mails and cooking (much to my kids’ delight). I’m feeling stronger each day.
Again, I thank you -
Steve S. - New York
Feb. 9, 2009
Dear. Dr. Adams,
Put aside for a moment the absolutely excellent care I received during my 4 day stay at Mount Sinai, which permitted me to begin working on a new painting 4 days after I returned home and riding my bicycle a week after that.
What struck me most about you and your team was the uncommon, unrushed, unhurried amount of time everyone was willing to spend with me, from our first meeting which lasted over an hour, through the subsequent encounters with the entire team.
Everyone was polite and friendly, respectful, and concerned about my well being, mental as well as physical.
It was an unexpectedly terrific experience.
With many thanks,
Florence B. - New York
Dear Dr. Adams,
I would like to thank you, Dr. Di Luozzo, Teresa, Terry, Edith, Joel, Catherine, the rest of your staff and all the rest of the doctors and nurses at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center for the wonderful care that you have given my wife Florence before, during and after her recent surgery to repair a cardiothoracic aneurysm. I would like to be able to thank each of them personally, but there were so many that I cannot recall all of their names. Perhaps you can pass my gratitude on to them. Everyone I came into contact during my visits to the hospital were extremely helpful and courteous, even the workmen.
When we first visited you in June it was a stressful situation for us, as you can imagine; your patience in carefully explaining what was going on and the time you spent with us was greatly appreciated. Later, in October, during our second visit, when the need for surgery as apparent from the second CT Scan, I found your patience and calmness very reassuring. I especially remember your parting words to me “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of her.” You certainly have done that and I thank you most gratefully.
Dr. Adams: Many patients are afraid to have heart surgery. They know they need it, and we think it is very important for patients who have gone through it to share it with other people that will be. They are going to be afraid, but I want them to have confidence that they are going to get good care and that they are going to get the right operation.
Priscilla: And I have to say is that you made us feel more at ease when I first came in. The way you sat down and spoke to us, just showed me what was going to happen.
Dr. Adams: I always say that in a consultation, usually the decision of what to operate has already been made by a good cardiologist, so our job is actually to make people feel comfortable and feel confident about the care they are going to receive, not necessarily to decide that they need surgery, so I am glad to hear that because I think that is the major part of the consultation.
Priscilla: Yes it is, and I felt very confident even though I did not want it, but I felt confident. I am glad I had it done.
Dr. Adams: I think that also shows that we are particularly proud of you because at 80 years of age, it shows that you are never too old or young to keep your own mitral valve as opposed to have a replacement.
Dr. Adams: So I am very proud of that. I have told you I showed your case to the meeting recently, so you have had a typical case of a single popped chord, and it is just fantastic to see how well you are doing.
Priscilla: I thank you, thank you, so much.
Dr. Adams: Tell me a little bit about what your experience was like. I know it is hard work having heart surgery when you are 80 years old, but how did you find the hospitalization and the care, and what your clinical experience was here.
Priscilla: I think from the very beginning I had a good experience. Everybody is so professional, but everybody on the other hand treated me just very graciously from the time I came in for the operation until the time I went home. My stay in the hospital I feel was just very good. I just cannot say enough about it.
Dr. Adams: We are really proud to hear something like that because this is something our whole team really strives for everyday, and it is one thing to be an expert in mitral valve repair and all the technical issues with that, but it is also important that the patients feel like they get great care here.
Priscilla: I definitely did. I have no complaints and even today when I came in to follow up with you and just everybody that I met you know came and they talked to me from the team. It was like old home week to me and I felt just so great.
Dr. Adams: I love to hear that. I think you really personify what we are trying to accomplish in this program right now.
Priscilla: You certainly have succeeded because it was just a very good morning for me.
Dr. Adams: That is great. I really appreciate you agreeing to talk to us.
Priscilla: Thank you.
Brian had his mitral valve re-operation with Dr. Adams in May 2008. He shared with us his experience with our team and how he feels five weeks after surgery.
Brian: After we had met, I kind of came in here. I really felt very confident that I was making the right decision. The people here just supported that through and through. From the anesthesiologist and the people who prepped me for the surgery, as well as my post care, every one really did a terrific job. I mean they really have a sense of team here. I think that everybody is on the same page and they communicate well together. I felt pretty well taken care of.
Dr. Adams: We were thrilled with the result with a patient like you because a re-operation is obviously more complicated than a first time operation. I think that the way you describe it pays a great tribute to the whole team here, because these are very complex operations and need to be done, as we said, perfectly.
Brian: You know, even after I got out of the hospital, there were a number of people from the hospital here who called me to follow up to make sure that I was doing the things that I was doing. Someone wrote me a note and I really felt that people care; that I was getting better and I felt like I got better, I feel like I am getting better. I mean it has been five weeks and I already feel a lot better than I did before I came in here, so it was a great job.
Dr. Adams: Well, I really appreciate you making these comments. When I saw you today in the clinic, I could not resist.
Laura A. - New York
Dec. 26, 2008
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.
Words can hardly express my heartfelt appreciation for your generosity in performing my surgery so expeditiously but more importantly the apparent mastery with which you performed.
I hardly thought that i could be at home writing this letter a mere 6 days after surgery. You have invigorated my strength and optimism for a healthy and long life - a live walking advertisement for your remarkable work.
Much thanks to you and your wonderful staff and best wishes to you in the new year.
Ben P. just saying hello. Sitting here waiting for game five of World Series with my 10 year old son. Sorry Red Sox didn’t make it. Wife just landed at La Guardia to show my oldest son around NYU for college. Hope I stay busy-tuition is crazy. Wife loves NYC-probably has something to do with my heart surgery in NY vs. Cleveland-nothing personal. I am a Cubs fan. Anyway-I am doing great. Thanks again. I feel like I a twenty year old-no s**t. I have twice the energy and just feel good every morning-instead of tired. Thank Randy Martin for me as well next time you talk. My son Ian is a pitcher and shortstop for a traveling team. It is just great to be confident in my ability to watch his progress to who knows, the majors? Why not.
Sincerely and best regards,
Raymond B. - Florida
Dear Dr. Adams,
I want you to know how grateful I am to have found you to do the surgery on my heart. It is not the kind of decision anyone would want to make a mistake with. And I certainly made the right decision in asking you to operate.
In our very first conversation on the phone, you described the surgery as very straightforward. You repeated those words the first time we met face to face. You inspired a lot of confidence when you said that. But you were much too modest. There is nothing straightforward about reconfiguring the leaflets of a mitral valve, implanting a new annulus, and suturing in new chordae the width of a thread. If it were as simple as you made it sound, I would not have traveled 1200 miles to get it done.
I remember looking at my echocardiograms over the last thirty plus years and seeing my mitral valve flailing around. When Rebecca, who did my post surgical echo showed me my reconstructed mitral, I was stunned and delighted. It functioned like part of a Swiss watch. I knew then that the ordeal of open-heart surgery was all worthwhile.
I was and still am impressed by the dedication of your associates and staff. You all demonstrated that you understood that inside every patient is a person. That compassion meant a great deal to me, and went a long way to accelerating my recovery.
Although I would never want to repeat the experience, I will be forever thankful that I found a surgeon as gifted as you to get me through it.
It has been about 3 weeks since my open heart surgery in NYC and every day I feel better.
As a 34 year old male, who had been at the “top of his game” when I found out about needing mitral valve repair, there is much I can say about the experience. Personally, I have gone through several lessons, revelations, challenges and strides, but the most important lesson I can pass on to other young heart patients who need a valve operation, is to pick you and your excellent team. Thank you for giving me a perfect heart again and thus a longer life expectancy. In addition, your team’s guidance pre- and post- surgery has been incredible.
Having worked and lived on every continent, traveling the world, meeting outstanding medical professionals, I can tell you I experienced your Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai, NYC to be the best reference center with the best care and professionalism. This is how medical “care” should be.
Every single person who “touched me” was informed, caring, knowledgeable and pleasant. Dr. Chikwe is incredible and always available. Therese helped get the entire trip organized, making us comfortable with all items; she is wonderful. Edith continues to guide me through the recovery stages remotely. Dr. Fischer is also great. Every single person (I failed to mention them all) was smart, caring and professional - and informed about my case in advance.
This is what I learned about where/how to get your heart fixed. When you are young and in need of this type of surgery, you want to select the best surgeon at the best reference center. When you plan to live a long life after surgery (50+ years), you need to make sure it is fixed the best way, by someone who has the most experience and best knowledge. Only then will your procedure be a success . . . 50 years from now. So, forget about who you know or where you live, but do your research, find the 2 or 3 best, “interview” them and select who you get the most positive feeling from. This is how I picked you.
So, I am now completely focused to getting back to 100% and actually plan to get to at least 120%. (You did tell me my heart is better now than it ever was.) In 2009. I plan to run a marathon or do something seriously challenging. I hope to set an example for others that need to follow in my food steps. I plan to check in again and let you know about my progress along the way and hope that I can host you and/or Dr. Chikwe in Florida some day.
All the best,
From: Michel K. Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 To: Adams, David Subject: Michel K is back!
Dear Dr. Adams, Dr. Chikwe and Team:
Today marks 3 months exactly since my heart operation. You had mentioned early on that 3 months would be a time look forward to. I felt like sharing my recovery update with you, so that you may share it with others who are in need of mitral valve surgery, but are worried what life might be like after. Well, I can tell you that I have been back at work for 6 weeks and traveled to NYC, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Atlanta. I play with my children like I used to; I even run 4 miles again, swim, lift weights, including push and pull ups. While I aim to set new physical goals for myself with this “new heart” of mine, I’m back! Your team has given me a new life expectancy and valuable experience. Thank you! Feel free to post this update to your website.
It was great to see you last week. Pls let me know when you might visit South Florida - we owe you a very nice dinner at the very least.
All the best,
Susan H. - New York
“And you, Terry, were a godsend, keeping things moving steadily going in and coming out, even to the point of advising me on pajamas! Last but surely not least, I want to thank Dr. Adams and his amazing surgical team for the miracle of restoring a human heart to health. I couldn’t have been in a better place than Mount Sinai. You have perfected the art of healing and I will always be grateful to all of you.”
“Dear Dr. Davis (Pres. & CEO Mount Sinai Medical Center:
Thursday, July 10, 2008, I underwent mitral valve repair surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center. I am writing from my home, recuperating after the successful surgery. The surgeon, Dr. David H. Adams, and his staff, and the staff of the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit far exceeded my expectations in terms of their professionalism, competence, attentiveness, and humanism. I am 68 years of age and have been hospitalized a few times in my life thus far, but none of the previous hospital stays could compare positively to this one. While I am sure that there are many people who contributed to my successful hospital stay that I never met face-to-face, I would like to specifically bring to your attention some members of the medical and hospital staff that I did experience personally who, I feel, maximized the positive result of my surgery.”
Mike is a 40-year-old pilot for United Airlines who came to us from Denver with severe mitral valve regurgitation.
He chose to have elective mitral valve repair surgery with Dr. Adams in June 2008, to ensure that he would have his mitral valve repaired, and not replaced, in order to be able to maintain his medical status for flying, as required by the FAA.
Gary K. approximately 6 weeks after surgery
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008
To: Adams, David
Subject: My Surgery
It has been over one year since my surgery. I am doing fine... back to work, no valve leakage, ejection fraction up to 55 from 45, heartbeat stable, etc., etc.
I just wanted to thank you again for saving and extending my life. All of your hard work to get where you are was certainly a blessing to me!
You repaired my valves last November 9. Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how great I feel. I am attaching some pictures of me on my morning ocean kayaking. I go 4 times a week and swim on the other days. I plan to make a trip to New York for follow up soon. I am going to try to get some video for you as soon as we have a good surfing day.
West Palm Beach, Florida
After 23 years of mitral regurgitation and shortness of breath, Nicole was referred by her cardiologist at Montefiore Medical Center to Dr. Adams. Talking with Dr. Adams about his pioneering minimally invasive techniques relieved her worries about having a scar on her chest.
Weeks later, with her incision barely visible, she describes herself as “very satisfied” with the outcome.
Mary had her mitral valve repaired by Dr. Adams on 6/15/05. 5 weeks later, she’s back doing the things she likes best in life, volunteer work, gardening, hiking, and traveling.
Clark S. - Georgia
“Four years past surgery all my annual check-ups have been absolutely positive; the most recent, just completed, shows no changes since surgery. At age 74, I am still handling my pastoral duties, plus daily walking and golf up to twice a week. My wife and I just took a dream vacation to Alaska and didn’t miss a thing we planned to see or do. Next, trip to Ireland straight ahead. Thank God for Dr. Adams and his competent team at Mount Sinai.”
Ron P. - New Jersey
Dear Dr. Adams,
I wanted to drop you a note and let you know that not a day goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I was to have you repair my mitral valve. It was 3 and half years ago that I had my operation. I was 43 years old and the interesting thing was after I was diagnosed with heart failure and needed the operation, the first 2 surgeons told me that I would need a replacement and offered no other choice. Fortunately for me a friend had recommended that I speak to you. I remember only talking to you over the phone from my hospital in New Jersey and knowing that after we spoke, without a doubt you were the surgeon that I wanted. You explained to me that you strive to fix the valve rather than replace it. I immediately transferred to Mount Sinai and you and your team performed miracles.
Well that was 3 and half years ago and I feel like new and as if I never had a problem. I have a wife & 3 kids, one of whom was just born 10 days ago. I am truly back to normal thanks to you. Your passion for what you do and your drive for perfection is what I really appreciate. The one other thing that I wanted to mention is how from A to Z you and your team are amazing. The bed side manner, the fact that everyone was always on time, and your follow up was great. I would absolutely recommend you to anyone in need of Mitral Valve repair.
Once again, myself and my family can’t thank you enough.
Donald M. - New Jersey
“I cannot thank you Dr. Adams and your entire cardiac care staff nearly enough. I am eternally in your debt.
Having gone through the experience of having my New York based cardiac physicians tell me things were well when comparing one EKG from the last one and telling me that there was no change, to being told by one of your staff that my medical condition was more dire was a revelation. Having 3 valves worked on and coming through as I did was miraculous. Thanks to your skill and that of your assisting surgeons I am alive.
The remarkable thing is there was absolutely no pain whatsoever. Some discomfort as I mentioned to you from the tube down the throat and being tied down so I couldn’t pull the tube out of my throat. I believe it was an 11 hour operation and then you all waited 3 hours to see if it worked. It certainly did. While I couldn’t thank you vocally all the time, I put my thumbs up and smiled when you came in to see me after I recovered. I kept thinking to myself “How do they do it?” The hours on their feet. I remember when you came in at 6:00 am to tell me you were going to do 2 lesser operations “to give me every chance possible”. I certainly didn’t see those words with any sense of foreboding.
Thanks for everything, for your caring and compassion, for your skills and expertise as staff. I truly owe you my life.”
David C. - New York
“Marathons are no big deal. Climbing Everest might be a little harder. But thanks to Dr. Adams and his team at Mount Sinai I now have the energy to keep up with this !!”
Page Created: Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Last Updated: Monday, 19 August 2013
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery | The Mount Sinai Medical Center | 1190 Fifth Avenue, Box 1028 | New York, NY 10029 | 866-MITRAL5 (648-7255)