Dr. Allan S. Stewart has Joined Mount Sinai Hospital

Dear Readers,
I frequently receive inquiries about my heart surgeon Dr. Allan S. Stewart. He left New York-Presbyterian last fall, and is now heading up the Aortic Surgery and Valve Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. He's a Professor, a Surgeon, and an Innovator who has published approximately 30 peer-reviewed research publications. He was one of three surgeons who operated on President Bill Clinton, and is frequently called upon for challenging surgeries. His surgical reputation precedes him, but it's his larger than life character that separates him from his peers. In a world chock full of doctors that are going through the motions and talk "at you" not "with you", Stewart is the extraordinary exception. You may reach him at Mount Sinai hospital. As a former patient, I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Benjamin J. Carey

Dr. Allan S. Stewart
1190 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Tel: 212-659-6807

I was diagnosed to have an ascending aortic aneurysm (5.2 cm wide)

"...Thanks for the website and book! It helped during the dark moments..."  
-V-P Larivaara  


I’m a 37 –year old male from Finland. Last September 2013 I was diagnosed to have an ascending aortic aneurysm (5.2 cm wide) just two days prior I was supposed to run a marathon. What a shock it was  but afterwards it seems like stroke of luck! I could have been one of those who fall down dead without ever knowing what hit them.

 "...I could have been one of those who fall down dead without ever knowing what hit them..."

I did not have symptoms of any kind. I was in the best shape of my life having started excercising about two years prior (then having been overweight). I have a genetic blood pressure problem but it had already been controlled with medication for 10 years.

They performed me a David’s procedure at the University Hospital of St Luc in Belgium (by Professor Gebrine El Khoury) on January 8 th and everything went great. My recovery was rapid. After having returned back home to Finland I went jogging after six weeks of the surgery (very slow and very short distance) and mainly excercised by walking. Other than having a slight fever for couple of weeks after the surgery I have not faced any problems. At first I of course could not walk long distances etc. without getting tired but I mean that I never had eg. arrhythmia.

In May I went for my first longer distance (30 km, roughly 20 miles) trail run between two hills and it was awesome! That inspired me to train a bit harder and during the summer I run about 40+ miles/week. Two weeks ago October 5th I run a 50 mile race (2,300 meters ascending) on technical trails and finished in 13.20 hours, at the back of the pack but definitely the happiest man on earth! J Just less than 9 months after the surgery.

Anything is possible and one should not think life is over should one get this diagnosis but get it over with and go on with normal life. I realize I’m one the lucky ones but I want to share my story to inspire others.

Thanks for the website and book! It helped during the dark moments/months I had waiting for the operation and not knowing what life would be after the operation.

Best Regards,

V-P Larivaara

...74yr old male who thought he was in great shape...


I am a 74yr old male who thought he was in great shape. I play hockey 3x per week and collapsed during a tournament. Ten days later 5|23|12 I had extensive open heart surgery.  One valve replacement, descending aneurysm, and repair of one blocked artery. I returned to work in 4 weeks. I began to skate after 3 months., and now I bicycle 62 miles. Feel fine with my new pig valve and other corrections. I feel that my pre-surgery fitness helped in my recovery.

Richard E. Cote
New York

More Heart Surgery Information From Another Heartosaurus

Ira Levofsky is a Heartosaurus. He's a bypass survivor, who is due for a tune up next week. He has written a book based on not only his experiences but on the lives of more than 100 people with similar surgery.

The book is available free through his website, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com.

Recovering from Heart Surgery Going Home
Free Book (download) for Kindle, Nook, i pad or any computer.
Designed as a wonderful handout to patients and their family’s experiencing Heart Surgery
Go to www.YourHeartSurgery.net
You can't do anything right now to assist in the surgery, but there are many, many things that you can do that effect in a very positive way your immediate future comfort and ease of recovery so get started.


Ira D. Levofsky

Living; no Thriving with Congenital Heart Defects CHD

"...it has been a very hard road, and the journey is not ending anytime soon.  Those of you who are growing up with heart disease know exactly what I’m talking about...." 
-Andrea Buginsky, Heart Patient

I’m 36, married and a college graduate.  I earned my BA in journalism from the University of South Florida in May 2007.  At the time of graduation, I had no idea what I was going to do with my degree.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to go out and get a full time job writing for a newspaper or magazine.  I wanted to freelance, but I knew that meant searching out companies to write for and things to write about, and that I would have to be able to work at my own pace, and do everything from home via e-mail, snail mail and phone.

The reason for this is simple:  I am disabled.  No, I’m not in a wheelchair.  I was born with a heart condition.  It has limited my life in various ways, and made me miss out on many things, but it hasn’t been completely terrible.  After all, I graduated from high school and Junior College, got married and graduated from USF.
But it has been a very hard road, and the journey is not ending anytime soon.  Those of you who are growing up with heart disease know exactly what I’m talking about.  You know what it’s like to miss a lot of school because of how easily you get sick and how long you stay sick because you can’t take the usual medicines to make you feel better.  You know what it’s like to feel left out because you can’t participate in all of the different activities with other kids.  And you know what it’s like to have to go to the doctor so frequently, take medicine constantly and be in the hospital far too often.  What a way to grow up.”

This is the opening of my autobiography, “My Open Heart.” I wrote it for adolescents growing up with CHDs and other chronic illnesses, but it’s also aimed at parents of children who were born with CHDs. I wanted to tell my story from a survivor’s point-of-view, to show that, although there are difficult times and struggles to get through, there are good times as well. I feel having grown up with CHD has made me a strong person. Now in my 30s (37, to be exact), I have overcome three open-heart surgeries, many procedures, and several grueling trips to the hospital. But each one has made me stronger. They have made me who I am today.

I’m not sure who I’d be had I not grown up with CHD. It’s a life I can’t imagine. OK, it’s a life I’ve definitely dreamed of, but can’t really imagine, not completely. Once you have been living with a certain condition, it’s hard to know what it’s like living without it.
I believe the same can be said for parents of children with CHD: You can never imagine what it would be like to not be the parent of a child with CHD. As an adult, I can look back at my experiences and see them through my parents’ eyes. They are incredible. I can’t imagine ever being in their shoes. As hard as things were on me, I never want to experience their point-of-view. 
For parents of children with CHD, I hope you’ll look to me and other adult CHD patients as a positive sign that your children will endure and thrive growing up with their defects. They may even become someone you never imagined them to be because of all they’ve thrived.

I’m a member of the Facebook group Adult CHD Patients Answering CHD Parent’s Questions. I hope you’ll join us and feel free to ask us any questions about your child’s defect, and how it may affect his or her life. We are here to help you survive as well.

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Remember to sign up for Andrea's newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.