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Dr Lever


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  • Dr Lever

    My tapes and files are on the way to Cleveland, not sure if they are heading directly to Dr Lever, although I did mention it to my doctor's nurse. And, I may call Karen on Monday.

    Many of you speak extremely highly of him. May I ask for you to give specifics of why?

    Also, if there a team of experts at Cleveland, why is he #1? ( I imagine you will say he's done the most myectomies, but what else?)

    And, does anyone have comments not just from the patient point of view, in other words, how does he rate among his peers? Does anyone here have a career medical background and can speak from that perspective?

    I'm trying to remain as objective as possible in my decisions, and your experiences and opinions have great value.

    Thanks, Laura
    p.s. My cardiologist Dr Reed is sending my 'stuff' to Houston (baylor) as well for review. And, it's on the way to Europe (Belgium) where they are having a conference. My case is to be presented to european and US thoracic surgeons in attendance for opinions on septal reduction and robotic techniques. Can't say enough about my cardiologist. Very educated on HCM and very pro-active and caring.
    Dx: HOCM 1991, Myectomy/Mitral Valve Repair @CCF July 19, 2005. Wife and Mom of two: ages 5 and 3.

  • #2
    Sorry (Iaga??) I cannot comment on Dr Lever as I had my myectomy done in Melbourne Australia. May I ask why your case in particular is being presented at a conference? Are you having a new myectomy procedure or do you just have interesting cardiac parameters? I was once paid $100 per echo to be a demonstration patient for doctors learning how to use one of the new echo machines. Apparently I had great pictures!


    Age 38, dad of two young children, dx 1996, myectomy March 2005, a-fib issues, due for ICD soon.


    • #3
      Paul, it's Laura, Laga is just my login name. Frankly, I'm not exactly sure why I'm being treated 'special' for lack of a better word. I do not believe my cardiac parameters are all that unique. My cardiologist is proactive and wants to get the best possible solution by seeking a variety of expert opinions. Dr Michael Smith a thoracic surgeon in Cincinnati has been somewhat of a pioneer in robotic techniques. He's been able to do some heart surgeries without cutting the sternum by using robotic arms no bigger than straws that go through the ribs externally to perform procedures. The precision has been outstanding, apparently. Although cutting edge, far from highly used at this point. The appeal naturally, is the non-invasive aspect. He's been asked by a Flemish surgeon to present his techniques at this conference next week. And, although I don't think they are thinking about handling my septal reduction this way, Dr Smith is going to present my case for evaluation as a discussion for all septal reduction techniques.

      My cardiologist said my timing was great. He's throwing my case out there for a variety of case reviews and I guess Dr Smith thought it interesting enough to present.

      That said, I really think I'm heading for a myectomy and hence my questions about Cleveland and Dr Lever.

      Dx: HOCM 1991, Myectomy/Mitral Valve Repair @CCF July 19, 2005. Wife and Mom of two: ages 5 and 3.


      • #4

        I saw Dr. Lever last winter because I had never been evaluated by a HCM specialist. Here are some reasons I think highly of him.

        He is very skilled. Few people on the planet know as much about HCM as Dr. lever. He is in rare company.

        He is very personable -he actually chatted and asked questions about my life that had nothing to do with HCM. He went so far as to ask what route I had come to Cleveland on and made sure his secretary gave me a better plan to exit the city.

        He gave me hours of time and allowed me to ask as many questions as I could come up with.

        He personally participated in a followup echo when he was not sure about the results of the first one performed. There with the echo tech he made sure he was able to see exactly what he wanted to see and measure exactly what he wanted to measure before he let me go home.

        When I consider the fact that my pcp generally gives me 10 minutes and that I have to make appointments with my cardiologist 2 months in advance and then am sometimes passed off to a partner, I was very impressed with the genuine care Dr. lever offered. While it was an expensive two days, it was well worth it.

        I trust your experience will be every bit as positive.


        God Squad co-moderator
        Nothing is as gentle as strength and nothing is as strong as gentleness


        • #5
          I LOVE Dr. Lever.

          He is the cardiologist that saw me, Dr. Smedira was my heart surgeon.

          Dr. Lever is absloutley brilliant. He is a true, true expert in HCM/HOCM. He is one of the top experts in the world.

          And he takes HCM/ HOCM very seriously.

          When I had my first echo at CCF (before the myectomy), he personally came in and did the echo with the technician. And he knew exactly what to do and he knew exactly what he was looking at regarding the echo.

          He really cares about his patients. And he will tell it like it is too. But he is also very personable.

          He took time out of his very busy day to see me the Friday before I left. I did not expect to see him, I did not have an appointment to see him. I thought I was just going to have a chest x-ray before I flew home. Then Dr. Lever comes into the waiting room and says "come on back" I was so surprised to see him. He did a full check-up on me and told me I was fine to fly home and not to worry so much. (Which he was right about.)

          I cannot say enough good about him. And believe me, I have seen many, many cardiologists in Phoenix/Scottsdale. None of them could ever hold a candle to Dr. Lever.

          I am extremely impressed with Dr. Lever and his team at CCF. Please believe me when I tell you, he knows what he is doing -- he knows HCM/HOCM. His expertise is so worth the trip.

          You are so lucky to live in Ohio and be able to go to CCF. I wish I could go back and see him, what peace of mind that would be. But of course, I live too far, so I have to go back to my old cardiologist here in Phoenix.

          I think it is a good idea to call Karen, Dr. Lever's secretary, and tell her about yourself and that you sent tapes to CCF, so she can keep a look-out for them.

          All the best,
          49 yrs. old
          Diagnosed at 31.
          Cardiac Arrest 2003, RF Ablation in AZ, no positive result -
          First ICD 2003 - In 2006 lead went bad, abandoned lead, threaded new one & new generator
          Myectomy 5-5-05 at The Cleveland Clinic - Dr. Lever & Dr. Smedira -heart surgeon.
          Currently have Grade 2 Diastolic Dysfunction with pulmonary hypertension & pulmonary edema.
          My brother passed away suddenly at 34 yrs old from HCM.
          2 teenage children, ages 17 and 15.


          • #6

            Dr Lever is not a surgeon. He is a cardiologist. He does not do Myectoms.
            There are only two surgeons at Cleveland Clinic that do Myectomys, -Dr. Bruce Lytle & Dr. Nicholas Smedira. Likewise, there are only two surgeons doing Myectomys at Mayo.

            Dr Lever is not “part of a team”. Dr Lever has been specializing in HCM for 25 years. He has trained others at The Cleveland Clinic in HCM. One is Dr Asher who has been sent to the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. Some would say that Dr Maron in Minneapolis
            is the #1.

            In this country, Dr. Barry J. Maron - Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and Dr. Harry Lever - The Cleveland Clinic, are the top 2 HCM specialist. Both have trained others in HCM.

            As for new techniques, not only is some heart surgery being done by arthroscopic, but they are even doing open heart surgery without the need for bypass.

            When a Myectomy is done, the aorta valve is spread open & only the surgeon can see in. No scopes are used to see. They still feel that to do a Myectomy the surgeon needs to see into the heart with only a magnifying glass.

            It would probably be a good idea for you to have a phone conversation with Lisa at this point.

            Selecting a doctor is a very personal decision, good luck.
            Cleveland Myectomy Club
            August 31, 2004


            • #7
              Adding on to Stuart. I would also like to add to the list of top centers as NEMC in Boston. They are right there. Actually, Dr. Barry Maron's son is one of the team of specialist up there. This is where I personally go and think they are absolutly fantastic. When I go there I actually get seen by three docs. Dr. Maron, Dr. Udelson and Dr. Link. For me Maron is my call to guy when I'm having trouble, Dr. Udelson handles the echo work and the talking at the person to person visits, and Dr Link is the EP guy. They were absolutly wonderful I can't say enough.

              Each of the centers mentioned are great but since you are so close to CCF. But, give Lisa a call she is a wealth of information.

              Just my imput!



              • #8
                When I had my surgery at CCF ( May 04 ), Dr Marc Gillinov performed my septal myectomy. To my knowledge he is still a surgeon there. That would make at least 3 doctors doing myectomys at CCF. In my opinion Dr Gillinov was an outstanding person to deal with...

                " Real Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling-Up Anyway "


                • #9
                  Below is Dr. Lever bio information taken from the Cleveland Clinic webiste as well as the link to articles that he has published. I hope this information answers your questions.

                  Lever, Harry, M.D.

                  Phone: (216) 444-6970
                  appointed: 1978
                  medical school: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA
                  specialty training: Fellowship - University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital Rochester NY
                  Internship - Montefiore Hospital/Univ. Health Center of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA
                  Residency - Montefiore Hospital/Univ. Health Center of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA
                  other education: B.S. - University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA
                  specialty interests: echocardiography, clinical cardiology, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

                  Lever, Harry, M.D.

                  Biographical Sketch:

                  Harry M. Lever, M.D. is a staff physician in the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center who specializes in echocardiography and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Dr. Lever, who is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians and the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

                  Dr. Lever is currently involved in a clinical trial that focuses on alcohol ablation of the proximal septum in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

                  A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, he completed his residency at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh and his fellowship in cardiology at the University of Rochester in New York.


                  Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you.


                  • #10
                    ok, this is what I was hoping to hear. Stuart, you cleared up things immensly, I indeed thought Lever was a thoracic surgeon. Now, I understand better. That does make sense, surgeons are 'cutters', cardiologists are more broad based.

                    I've been aware of the Maron's repitation for years, but Lever was new to me. Obviously I've not been 'current' due to the stability of my condition and leaving it at that for years.

                    I called Dr Lever's office this morning, hoping to get Karen. She's apparently gone for several days and I talked to Marquerite (?). She took my info and said she would place on Dr Lever's desk. I mentioned my reports are coming up and to look out for them.

                    Wait and see, I guess.
                    Thanks again everyone for your valuable feedback, Laura
                    Dx: HOCM 1991, Myectomy/Mitral Valve Repair @CCF July 19, 2005. Wife and Mom of two: ages 5 and 3.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by laga
                      Thanks again everyone for your valuable feedback, Laura
                      That's why we're here.


                      Husband has HCM.
                      3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


                      • #12
                        Well, in normal open heart and most operations, it is said that the surgeon is the mechanic. He can cut and fix but don’t ask him a medical question.

                        But that is a lot different with HOCM. You will find that the few surgeons that do Myectomys that we speak of (be it the Mayo, Cleveland, NE...) are "not just cutters".

                        Anyone of them can talk to you about HCM with knowledge of your disease. Yes these very gifted surgeons are able to answer question about HCM. It is fair to say that these few surgeons probably know more about HCM then most heart doctors.

                        I realized this when I meet with Dr Bruce Lytle (surgeon) the night before my Myectomy. And at the annual HCMA meeting last weekend, you would not have known which of the doctors were cardiologists or surgeons or electrophysiology.

                        LISA - CHIME IN HERE. I feel this is important and I think you know what
                        I am trying to say.
                        Cleveland Myectomy Club
                        August 31, 2004


                        • #13

                          I guess you can see from all the post that some of us have different views than others. I had Dr Lever as my cardiologist up there and Dr Lytle as my surgeon. Here is my point of view on the matter.

                          When I went up there I was very scared, I was 42 and had worked in the medical field (Emergency Medical Tech) on an ambulance for 10 years and had seen quite a bit, however, this did not make it any less scary to me. I met Dr Lever right at the beginning and we sat and talked about all the options, the procedures, and the outcomes. He is very compassionate, he is TRULY concerned about you thought and you feelings. He does not talk down to you like "you are wasting my time" he wants to make sure you understand everything. As for the staff in his office I feel they are all good because he really depends on them and I feel personally that when dealing with something so serious he would not stand to have an employee that might give the wrong info out. He will tell you all you want to know about HCM/HOCM, as he is well trained in this field. If he don't know an answer he will find out and get back to you with one.

                          I an not sure I know which surgeon that you are going to have if you have to have surgery but Dr. Lytle is great. He too will take you in his office and sit you down and talk to you on an level you can understand. He wants to make sure that you know what is going to happen, what to expect after surgery and he does not push you into having surgery. He lets you make that decision. He too, is well educated with HCM/HOCM. He has done lots of myectomies. He is well respected in that hospital. He will also make sure that your family knows what to expect. When my husband and I went in he had us to watch a movie before he would talk to us. Afterward he sat us down and explained every last detail.

                          Keep in mind there are a lot of great hospitals and a lot of really good Doctors. I can only tell you what I experienceed. I had dealings with CCF and also Mayo in Minnesota. and I found both places to be very qualified.

                          If you have any more questions just let us know and I am sure someone will help all that they can.

                          May God be with you and guide you in the right direction.

                          I pray that God will place his loving arms around you and hold you in the comfort of his love.


                          • #14
                            This thread may be a little to weighted towards CCF (this thread does name Dr Lever).
                            The Mayo is on an equal playing field. The only reason that you may see more people talking up CCF is because there are more people active on the MB that have been to CCF then MAYO.

                            Also travel to Cleveland is a little easier trip then the flights and travel from the airport to Rochester, MN. (based on hearsay).

                            Having sat at dinner with one of the two Mectomy surgeons from Mayo last Saturday, he said that they did about 90 Myectomys last year. This is up considerably over the last few years. Just basing it on the numbers that Lisa mentioned to me a year ago.

                            This would lead me to believe that there SHOULD BE MORE INPUT about Mayo from HCMA members. If the input was here, I think you would have a hard time choosing between the two.

                            (John Murray is returning home from Mayo today. He will be posting his recovery over the next few weeks - So far doing great)

                            I had my Myectomy at CCF. I’m very big on Dr Lever & CCF. But now I would have a harder time choosing between the two having been around HCMA for the last year.

                            LISA- Chime in
                            Cleveland Myectomy Club
                            August 31, 2004


                            • #15
                              I just wanted to echo what Stuart said about the Mayo. I was most impressed with Dr. Ommen and Dr. Dearani who spoke at the meeting last week. Although I am not at the point of having a myectomy yet, I might be there sometime, and I went to the meeting so I could meet some docs from Cleveland and Mayo ahead of time. I am completely bewildered now, because while Cleveland is probably easier to get to, and the message board is filled with folks that have had great outcome from CCF, those Mayo docs rocked! In fact, I liked them so much that if and when my time comes, I might have to go to Mayo....
                              Daughter of Father with HCM
                              Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
                              Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
                              ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
                              Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


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