NOTE TO BROADCAST MEDIA OUTLETS: Johns Hopkins cardiac experts are available for FREE  remote (VYVX ) interviews via a satellite studio at Johns Hopkins.  90 sec. b-roll (.WMV format) of a previous aortic valve replacement is available upon request.

May 11, 2010- Johns Hopkins cardiac surgeons — none who are involved in the care of ABC ‘s Barbara Walters — are prepared to give background to reporters or comment on diseased aortic valves and aortic valve replacement surgery, performed at a rate of more than one a week at  Johns Hopkins for many years.

Walters said over the weekend that she has known about her need for surgery for many months but did not reveal details of her symptoms or condition.  In early 2009, actor Robin Williams and former first lady Barbara Bush both underwent aortic valve replacement.  According to statistics from the American Heart Association, surgeons in the United States performed 17,592 aortic valve procedures in 2007.  On average, these patients spent eight days in the hospital after their surgeries.

Johns Hopkins experts are available to discuss the function and “geography” of the aortic valve, and answer such questions as:

What are the main reasons for replacing it?
What is the aortic valve replaced with?
How are faulty valves detected?
Are the causes of aortic valve problems genetic or due to lifestyle, or both?
Which of these conditions might Barbara Walters have?
What is the prognosis after aortic valve replacement?

Our experts and their credentials:
Jeffrey A. Brinker, M.D., is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute

Duke Cameron, M.D., is cardiac surgeon in charge and a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute

John Conte, M.D., is associate director in the Division of Cardiac Surgery and a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute