Kansas City, CA (PressExposure) August 19, 2009 -- According to the American Heart Association, more than 700,000 open heart procedures are performed annually in the United States. Approximately 15% of those surgeries require heart valve replacement devices including mechanical, tissue or donor valve transplants.
However, ongoing patient research suggests that second opinions are not obtained for many patients preparing for heart valve replacement operations.
âThe data suggests that 35% of patients do not get a second opinion prior to procedures including aortic valve replacement and mitral valve replacement,â notes Adam Pick, author of The Patientâs Guide To Heart Valve Surgery.
While some heart valve surgeries are performed on an emergency basis, most forms of valvular disease (e.g. aortic stenosis, mitral regurgitation) are diagnosed in advance of surgical treatment. Heart valve surgery is performed as the disorder progresses from mild to moderate to severe status.
âAfter speaking with thousands of patients, I have learned that heart valve diagnosis can be a tricky process,â notes Pick, who is a double heart valve replacement patient. âGiven the serious, invasive nature of most cardiac procedures, I strongly encourage patients to get medical consensus through a second opinion.â
At Adamâs Heart Valve Surgery Blog (located at http://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/heart-surgery-blog/), Pick has posted several patient stories that illustrate the valuable utility of second opinions.
âIn most situations, second opinions confirm the diagnosis and the need for heart valve surgery,â Pick stated. âHowever, in select cases, a second opinion provides incremental insight that alters a patientâs prognosis.â
For this reason, Pick stresses the need for second opinions among his readers.
âFailing to get a second opinion could be a critical, perhaps deadly, missed step for the patient,â Pick noted. âSoâ¦ When I talk to patients preparing for heart valve surgery, the first question I ask them is, âDid you get a second opinion?ââ