I'm Dr. Grayson Wheatley, a board-certified heart surgeon specializing in aortic surgery.

This blog is dedicated to giving patients, family members, and physicians quality medical information about the aorta, its diseases, and how to treat them.

Double Trouble: Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV)

Let’s discuss what is a bicuspid aortic valve.  The main valve of the heart - the aortic valve - is an incredibly beautiful structure with a level of design complexity that even the brilliant Renaissance artist and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci, marveled at.

All medical students and physicians have studied heart anatomy and know about the aortic valve.

However, for specialists like myself, there is a level of fasciation and depth of understanding... Continue reading.

The Unfortunate Case of Alan Thicke

[Editor’s note: Download the related podcast to this post on The Dr. Grayson Wheatley Show. Available on iTunes and Android.]

This past week we have all struggled to make sense of the sudden and unexpected passing of the famous and beloved Hollywood actor, songwriter, game and talk show host Alan Thicke.

This has been even more difficult because of his death occurring around the holidays.

With respect to Mr. Thicke’s privacy and the grieving process... Continue reading.

Aortic Surgery in Cuba


Yes, you read that correctly.

With the recent passing of Fidel Castro, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my adventures from Cuba.

Over the last year and half, I have had the pleasure and good fortune to travel to Cuba twice to learn more about the healthcare system in Cuba and understand how patients with aortic disease are treated.

With these visits, I have also met... Continue reading.

Image(ing) Is Everything

In every presentation that I give - whether it is in the United States or internationally - there is a common theme that I emphasize with the audience.

The theme is: With regards to treatment of aortic diseases such as aortic aneurysms or aortic dissections, “Imaging is Everything”.

What do I mean by that?

When a patient is diagnosed with an aortic problem, such as an aortic aneurysm, the first thing we do is... Continue reading.

Meet Cullen Timmons - Diagnosing His Own Aortic Aneurysm

I want you to meet Cullen Timmons. His story - relative to aortic aneurysms - is a remarkable case of astute thinking and serendipity.

Cullen is a 26-year old, active, healthy medical student at the University of Virginia who was taking an elective called “Advanced Physical Diagnosis”.  As part of that class, he placed a stethoscope to his own chest to listen to his own heart. What he heard surprised even him.

Cullen... Continue reading.