Surgeon and TV star Dr. DiBardino talks heart valves

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Dr. Daniel DiBardino

Dr. Daniel DiBardino

Hello from warm and muggy Minneapolis!  Yup, it’s summer here in the upper Midwest in my hometown.  Hope you’re cool and comfortable where ever you are checking in from.

Today’s topic is loosely about heart surgery and I’ll highlight one of my new surgeon colleagues at HCMC, Dr. Daniel DiBardino.

To get us started I talked a bit about heart valves in the last post which you can check out here.  Since that post I had a fantastic guy on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast:  Dr. Daniel DiBardino is a cardiac surgeon on the staff of Hennepin County Medical Center.  This guy is not only a skilled cardiothoracic surgeon but he’s also a bit of a celebrity.  And as I found, he’s the kind of guy that you warm up to in the first minute that you meet.  That’s Dr. DiBardino in the picture and you can learn more about him here.

My first bit of advice is to listen to the podcast of the Healthy Matters show featuring Dr. “DiBar” – just click my face here:

HM logo newer

I think Daniel is my first radio show guest (in nearly 8 years of broadcasts) that is also a genuine TV star.  You may have heard about the TV series Boston Med which aired on ABC back in 2010.  Boston Med was a real-life documentary series in which camera crews followed the action at a few of the premier hospitals in the United States.  Dr. DiBardino was a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston at that time and he featured prominently in the very first episode.  Totally cracks me up that his nickname on the show was “Dr. DiBar” – when you meet him it totally fits that he’d have a catchy nickname.  Here is the entire first episode of Boston Med if you want to check it out:

 

 

What do heart valves do?

In my last post, which you can check out here, I talked about the basic physiology of the heart.  I thought about getting into some more detail here in this post, but as I started to write more about the heart and what can go wrong, I quickly realized why it takes a a dozen years or more to become a cardiac surgeon.  This is a huuuge topic so I abandoned that effort.  Rather, I will simply offer a number of links for you to read more as you wish.  As always, I try to provide links only to reliable sources, the Internet being a pretty tough place to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Overview of valve disease

First, for a great and readable overview of heart valve disease, click on this page from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the US Government’s National Institutes of Health – or NIH – which is our country’s major route for funding quality research).

Here’s an echo (ultrasound) picture of the four chambers of the heart – you can even see the valve leaflets of the mitral valve on the right side of this picture (though in reality that is the left side of the heart  . . . medical images are usually looked at backward like this!)

iStock_000063540139_Large

Aortic stenosis

One of the more common valvular diseases is aortic stenosis.  The aortic valve sits between the left ventricle (the big, muscular pumping chamber) and the aorta (the biggest artery in your body and the major conduit for blood to your body).  When the valve gets stenotic (or narrowed), it fails to open all the way. The heart then has to beat harder and harder and harder to get blood out to your body.  This can lead to feelings of dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath.  If untreated, it can lead to heart failure.

One in ten people over age 75 will get aortic stenosis.  Yikes!  The treatment is surgery and I’m happy to say surgery really works, as scary as it may sound.  To understand more about aortic stenosis, watch this short video from the Alliance for Aging Research:

 

Aortic insufficiency and mitral insufficiency

Also known as aortic or mitral regurgitation, this is just about the opposite problem of stenosis.  Valvular insufficiency is the situation where the valve fails to close all the way hence it gets leaky.  As we learned elsewhere, a leaky valve means blood goes the wrong way.  For more info, I recommend checking out the information from the American Heart Association here.

Random trivia since I love trivia:  the mitral valve is so named because someone thought the valve looked like a bishop’s mitre (hat).  Never learned that in med school!

Bishop's_mitre,_Bishopsgate,_London

What about the other valves?

Most heart valve problems occur in the aortic and mitral valves which are located in the high-pressure left side of the heart.  There are two other valves on the lower-pressure right side. They are the tricuspid valve (so named for its three leaflets) and the pulmonic valve (which is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery leading to the lungs).

These right-sided valves can also have problems and are sometimes implicated in congenital heart disease (which means problems present at birth) but they are far less likely to need replacement as adult.

Valve surgery

As we talked about with Dr. DiBardino on the radio broadcast, valve surgery can involve replacement either with a mechanical valve made from manufactured materials or a bioprosthetic (aka tissue) valve which uses tissue from animals.  Both are perfectly acceptable options.   A good explanation on these two types is in this video.  I invite you to pay particular attention to the explanation of the differences between these 2 types of valves which starts about one minute into the video.

 

Dr. DiBardino

In my job I encounter all sorts of characters, and I’m just talking about the doctors!  This past week was really fun hanging out with Dr. DiBardino, one of the terrific surgeons at my hospital.  If you need a heart surgeon, you ought to know about this guy who practices at Hennepin County Medical Center.  As always, to reach any doctor any HCMC, call 612-873-6963.  Or check out HCMC.ORG.  And learn more about Dr. DiBardino here.

Thanks for subscribing to MyHealthyMatters.org.  What?  You haven’t subscribed by e-mail?  Do it today right below on this page.  Don’t worry I won’t flood your inbox with too many e-mails and I will never get all commercial and try to sell you stuff.

Bye!

David

 

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Posted in Cardiology, Geriatrics and aging, Surgery, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick tips: Heart valves, prolapsed uterus, gout

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Hey hey hey!  

Last week was an “Open Lines’ show and thanks to the best listening audience in the world, I had more questions than I had time for answers.  Here’s another edition of Quick Tips from the listener mail bag.DRH Letterbox

If you missed the show, click the Healthy Matters logo below and listen to it on your time, your terms, your device.  I’m all accommodating like that.logo_healthy-matters

 

I’ll cover heart valves, uterus prolapse, and gout – all questions from listeners.  Remember these are quick tips only so not complete answers.  It occurred to me that none of these topics are in area of expertise so I’ll be very general.  As always, my medical thoughts are only for advice and information.  You should see your own doctor for your own personal needs. Continue reading

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Posted in Cardiology, Geriatrics and aging, Joint and Muscle issues, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pearls from Medicine Science: Tai chi may be good for arthritis

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Reading this stuff . . . so you don’t have to.

Journals photoA few months ago I launched the first in what I hope will become a recurring series:  Pearls from Medical Science.  As many of you know, I strive to provide high-quality, scientifically accurate medical information on Healthy Matters, both the radio show and this blog.  As do most doctors, I get inundated with medical journals, which are the repository of what the medical science community has learned about our various medical conditions.  Since nobody can read all this (or want to), every now and then I will present one thing I’ve learned from what doctors call (with apologies to Hemingway and Fitzgerald), the “literature.”

This week I’ll highlight a fascinating study about arthritis and the ancient Chinese practice of Tai Chi.  If you have arthritis – no matter your age – read on.  Oh yeah, at the end of the post I talk about the Minnesota State Fair.  Don’t miss it! Continue reading

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Posted in Geriatrics and aging, Joint and Muscle issues, Pearls from Medical Science, Physical Therapy | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dementia is not normal aging. It’s a disease.

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Alois_Alzheimer_002Hi, everybody!  I’m back after a bit of a hiatus for a bit of family vacation.  Thanks for checking in!

This week’s topic is dementia.  We talked about it with an expert colleague on our Healthy Matters radio broadcast and as I mentioned on the air, I’ll use this blog post to dig a little deeper into this expansive topic

Do you know who that is in the picture at left?  That’s Dr. Alois Alzheimer.  He’s the Bavarian doctor who had a patient, 51 year old Auguste Deter, who back in 1901 was in the Frankfurt asylum.  She was forgetting things and acting strangely – a condition he called presenile dementia.  Sadly, she was exactly the type of people who ended up in places like asylums at that time.  She was to become the first patient with what later became known as Alzheimer’s Disease, named for this doctor who found strange formations in her brain tissue at autopsy.  More on that later.

But rather than get into the science of dementia right away, I’d like to get you thinking about what dementia can look like on a more humanistic level.  Please check out this 3-minute video – it’s really poignant and tender.

Preview of this post

Here’s what you will find in this post should you choose to read further:

  • Meet Dr. Abigail Holley.  Someone who is uniquely positioned to care for older adults.
  • Dementia 101.  The scientific/medical basics.
  • Links to resources to help you or a loved one who may have cognitive decline.  There are some terrific links scattered throughout this post that are interactive, reliable, and really informative.  Look for the blue underlined links and click away!
  • Two videos – one above about the human aspect of dementia and one near the bottom from the scientific community about latest research. Continue reading
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Posted in Geriatrics and aging, HCMC, Medical research, Medications, Primary Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

There’s a virus in my carry-on: Travel Medicine

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Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere

Source: NASA

There is almost nothing I’d rather be doing than going places all over the world.  In fact, I am usually planning the next trip while I’m on the way home from the current one.  And if you are fortunate enough to have the means and freedom to travel – this post is for you!  (Important to note, I think, that not all people have the privilege of world travel due to lack of freedoms, economic realities, and so forth).

I think international travel is one way in which we can come together with people who are different than us.  Learning other cultures, visiting other places, perhaps being the one in the minority (racially, culturally) in a strange new land.  These are good for us.  It’s hard to judge other people when you’ve visited their awesome country!  I’ve met some of the most interesting, perplexing, lovely, hospitable people when abroad.  And our Earth has the most breathtaking natural wonders!

Just for kicks – to get you thinking . . .

  • What’s the weirdest place you’ve been to?  I think for me it may be Cappadocia, in Turkey.

    Cappadocia_Chimneys_Wikimedia_Commons (2)

    Photo: Benh LIEU SONG via Wikipedia Commons

  • What’s your most favorite place to visit?  Me:  Paris.  No contest

    Palais_Luxembourg_Sunset_Edit

    Photo: Benh LIEU SONG via Wikipedia Commons

  • What’s the most life-changing place you’ve been to?  Me:  West Bank, Palestine.  I’ll tell you about it sometime.
Sunset in the West Bank.

Sunset in the West Bank.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in all this travel enthusiasm.  In 2014, over 1.1 billion people traveled overseas to somewhere in the world.  Billion with a B.  Something like 8 million people fly every single day, spending $2.6 billion every day, or about $30,000 per second.

No wonder the TSA lines require patience of biblical proportions.

Klondikers_buying_miner's_licenses_at_Custom_House,_Victoria,_B_C,_Feb_21,_1898_(HS85-10-9774)_(cropped)

TSA line?

In this post I’m going to cover Travel Medicine and health.  Read on for:

  • General health tips prior to travel
  • Links to resources for travelers.  Look for the most important link below.
  • A few disease-specific issues.  Yes, I’ll talk about our new friend, Zika.

Here we go . . .

Continue reading

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Posted in HCMC, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book club! How Doctors Think

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how doctors thinkHi, everybody!  For about 2 months I’ve been yammering both in this blog and on the radio broadcast about the current Healthy Matters online book club selection, and it’s time to get to it!  As they say in billiards .. “Quit talking and start chalking . . . “

 I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman.  For regular readers of MyHealthyMatters, hopefully you’ve had a chance to check it out.  But it’s OK if you didn’t read the book.  I’ll bet you’ll have something to add to the conversation even if you didn’t get to read it!

 

To get you thinking, I’m going to talk about the book in the following format:

  1. My summary and reflections about an aspect of the book, broken into 3 topic sections
  2. A few questions for you to consider in response to my reflections.  Hopefully you’ll leave a comment at the bottom with your own thoughts.

I’d rather this be a two-way conversation – an online book discussion – rather than just me talking.  (I talk enough).  I’m most interested in your thoughts so please join the conversation even if you didn’t get a chance to read the book.  (Just like in-person book clubs where half the people didn’t actually read the book!  You know who you are.) Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Healthy Matters Book Club, Humanities and Medicine, Medical Education | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Got a tooth question? We have answers!

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toothHey, friends, I’m back.  This time with a slew of questions from all of YOU about your teeth.  Last Sunday on the radio broadcast we talked about dental topics  – something I don’t do very often.  I don’t talk about the teeth much because basically in medical school we learn exactly NOTHING about teeth.  Happily, HCMC (the health care system that employs me) has a terrific group of dentists and oral surgeons.

On the show, we intended to talk about dental implants and other oral surgeries. Eventually, we did do this.  But I, of course, had other insightful and probing questions for my guest (oral surgeon Louis Christensen) – questions like:

  • “Why are they called ‘wisdom teeth’?”
  • And maybe more to the point, “Did I get dumber when I had my wisdom teeth yanked out?”

I think the correct answer to the first questions is “nobody knows” and the answer to the second question is “Yes.

Dental implants are really cool if you are a hockey player.  Or even if not a hockey player.

Christensen studioFortunately, listeners to the show had questions that were much more en pointe, as they say.  We learned cool stuff from Dr. Louis Christensen (that’s him in the picture) who joined me early on a Sunday morning in the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis.  He’s an oral surgeon who does surgeries not only on wisdom teeth, but he does dental implants, jaw reconstruction, face reconstruction (oh my!) and lots of other work to keep our teeth and faces in top shape.

As is often the case, though, we didn’t get to cover all the questions people had, so in this post we’ll try to answer some.  If you missed the show, you may want to check out the podcast here. Continue reading

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Posted in Dental, Preventive care, Primary Care, Surgery, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dying too young

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CandleThis has been a tough week as too many people have died way too early.  I’m going to write a few thoughts about young lives cut short – one from my own life and one from the nation.  No links to medical information, no medical advice, nothing funny and probably not too uplifting.  I think I just need to make note of these young lives. Sorry it is a sad read.  Just some reflections and a poem at the end.   Thanks for reading. Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Humanities and Medicine | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Coffee, WHO and You: the best news in a long time

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cup-of-coffee-1414919__180OK, before I say one thing about this topic, we need to set the mood by playing this very short audio clip.  Make sure the sound is turned up on your computer or mobile device and click the “play” arrow.

This is going to be epic:

 

 

Hallelujah!  Yes, indeed, the medical community has determined that drinking coffee is not only probably not bad for you, it may actually be good for you.

Here I am celebrating (undoubtedly after having had a couple cups):

20160211_hcmc_408

That news is proof of a divine being, I say.

Continue reading

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Posted in Cancer, Diabetes, Diet and exercise, Health and wellness, Health in the News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Home, sweet (medical) home

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A cute little steep roofed home and fence

Hey and how are ya?  C’mon in, grab a cup of coffee.  Thanks for stopping by to my Healthy Matters home.

Today I’m going to talk about Health Care Homes, aka Medical Homes, aka the Next-Generation-of-Medical-Delivery, aka the Clinic-Where-Everybody-Knows-Your-Name, aka the World’s Greatest Clinic Idea, aka the Clinic-System-We-All-Wish-We-Had.

You may have heard, but probably not, about Medical Homes.  It is a term that has appeared in the past few years, really gaining traction around 2010 when the Affordable Care Act became law in the United States.  Medical homes are an attempt to make the health care system more patient-friendly, less fragmented, easier to navigate, and more cost-effective.

To start, please watch the following video about the HCMC Coordinated Care Clinic, a nationally-recognized and award-winning program in the Health Care Home model.   The doctor in the video (Dr. Paul Johnson) was and is a colleague and teacher of mine.  He’s wicked smart and simply an awesome doctor. 

Continue reading

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Posted in HCMC, Health and wellness, Primary Care, Public Health, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments