There are many resources on the internet for heart disease, open heart surgery, and related treatment options. This is by no means a comprehensive list but it is that we found helpful and most relevant. I hope you will benefit from them.

Dr. John W Zamarra-Cardiologist in Orange County who I have the honor to work with.  Dr. Zamarra is passionate about his patients and is here to help you if you need a cardiologist.


Open Heart Coach- founder Maggie Lichtenberg draws from her personal journey with heart disease and surgery to contribute excellent advice and encouragement for patients and caregivers. Maggie strives to prepare and educate those going through surgery and their families by providing practical and essential resources.

Anthony’s Heart Valve Replacement Saga -Anthony shares his inspiring story as an athlete, his love for the outdoors, and also as heart patient and journey through open heart surgery for a valve replacement.

Heart Valve Surgery-an excellent resource for patients with heart valve disease offering helpful information pertaining to surgery, treatments, and recovery. This website also has an incredible support group for heart patients undergoing open heart surgery or related surgeries.


Mended Hearts- a national organization encouraging patients and families affected by heart disease through education, resources, visitation, and peer to peer support.


American Heart Association- a non-profit organization in the United States whose mission is to educate and bring awareness in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by heart disease.


American Stroke Association- a non-profit organization in the United States whose mission is to educate and bring awareness in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by stroke.


American College of Cardiology- an excellent source for journals and medical literature. The ACC strives to improve cardiovascular health through education, research, quality care, and health policy.


Heart Failure Info- is designed to provide people living with heart failure access to basic information on heart failure and its symptoms, causes, and management options. This website is a part of Medtronic.


Heart Failure Matters-an international based website offering education, resources and support for patients and families dealing with heart failure.

Family Caregiver Alliance is a public voice for caregivers, highlighting the daily challenges they face, offering them assistance, and championing their cause through education, services, research, and advocacy.


The Open Heart Companion: Preparation and Guidance for Open-Heart Surgery Recovery -Maggie Lichtenberg author and patient gives a personal account of her own journey with open heart surgery as well as wonderful insights for the patient and the caregiver. A must read for anyone about to embark on this journey! :)

Heartfelt: Caregiver’s Guide to Cardiomyopathy and Mitral Valve Surgery-Elaine Webster shares her husband’s journey with heart disease and includes her own insights, thoughts, and tips for caregivers.

The Patient’s Guide to Heart Valve Surgery-Adam Pick’s personal account of undergoing open heart surgery. He shares his story, challenges, and triumphs.

The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making-Viki Kind a bioethicist touches on what she calls ‘care-grieving’. This has helped me understand the grief I have experienced as a caregiver. She also provides tools and resources for families when their loved ones can no longer make decisions for themselves.

Mayo Clinic-Healthy Heart for Life-an incredible resource for heart disease education, treatments, and practical lifestyle changes.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life-highly recommended for all women but also an excellent resource to understand symptoms, diagnostic tests, and treatments. Dr. Steinbaum’s desire is that all women would be empowered to take control of their lives by living a heart centered life as a means to help prevent heart disease. This is invaluable as it teaches me to not only take care of Steve’s heart but also to take care of mine. :)


Medical Products

Recliner -Many cardiac patients have expressed difficulty sleeping on a bed after their open heart surgeries. It was our experience that Steve could not sleep flat on a bed for about two weeks. He instead slept on the recliner that his cousin generously let us use. Please use this link as a reference to help guide you in making a purchase if necessary.

Medic ID Necklace/Bracelet-Steve is using a Medic ID Necklace to help emergency personnel know his medical insurance carrier, medical id number, valve replacement type and anticoagulation therapy used.

Blood Pressure Monitor-Steve uses it daily to monitor his heart rate and blood pressure. It was critical in the first few months after surgery to assess his blood pressure and heart rate throughout the day and especially after taking certain medications. It was great to have one on hand and ready when we came home from the hospital. We found a reliable one at Walgreens.

Soft Heart Pillow-Most hospitals will give the patient a firm heart shaped pillow for support.  Steve found that this soft round pillow helped him the most during the days after the surgery and beyond.  It is very comfortable and the patient can easily wrap his or her arms around it.  I noticed that this product also comes in smaller sizes, ideal for pediatric patients.

Pill Box -most heart patients will be discharged from the hospital with several prescriptions. The pill box helps Steve keep track of his medications on a daily basis.

Pill Splitter-some medications may require you to take ½ the dosage. Strongly recommended.

Dermacort by Melaleuca-a highly effective hydrocortisone cream used to treat rashes, insect bites and other skin irritations. I used this cream to treat a skin rash that Steve developed after taking several heart medications post-op. It worked effectively and relieved his symptoms faster than a generic hydrocortisone cream I had on hand. Please contact me directly for assistance.


Financial Resources

Partnership for Prescription Assistance-offers access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs including more than 150 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies to those who lack prescription coverage. Please call for more information.