Please wait...



Diet and exercise. When it comes to heart health, these two lifestyle habits are known to truly help – or hinder – the health of your heart. We’ve all heard about the benefits of eating healthy and being active, but did you know that sitting in a sauna has health benefits for your heart? It does!

For centuries, saunas have been praised for their health benefits. While in a sauna, a person’s body temperature increases, which means the heart rate increases, as well. The cardiac output is higher. If the heart rate rises, but the vessels of the body relax, resistance is lowered. Blood flow to the skin will increase and decrease to other organs.

In one study, saunas created a significant decrease in blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. Saunas had the same results as blood pressure medications. Other studies have shown that a sauna is beneficial for congestive heart failure patients. Patients felt improved after using a sauna.

In a study done at the University of Eastern Finland, frequent sauna visits were associated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Time in the sauna may keep the heart healthy and even extend a person’s life. Other studies have shown that regular time in the sauna may benefit people with risk factors for heart disease such has high cholesterol and diabetes.

Saunas are not recommended for patients with low blood pressure, unstable angina, or those who just recently a heart attack.

Schedule an Appointment with a Tampa Heart Valve Surgeon

If you have a history of heart disease in your family or currently suffer from heart disease, talk to a heart valve surgeon; you may be a candidate for heart valve surgery. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery page or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater area.


Aortic stenosis is a form of aortic valve disease. With this condition, the aortic valve’s flaps (cusps) have thickened or become stiff and could possibly fuse together, which narrows the valve. Because of this, the valve’s opening is narrowed and blocks or reduces blood flow from the heart into the aorta and to the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis is also referred to as a tight aortic valve.

When the aortic valve is tight, there is greater stress on the heart and less blood going elsewhere in the body. When a person has aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open properly, so it is harder for blood to leave the heart.

If a person has a serious case of aortic stenosis, the stress placed on the heart can potentially lead to heart failure and death. If the heart is working harder to pump the blood out because of the stenosis, the heart muscle becomes thicker, which can lead to congestion and congestive heart failure.

Most people who develop aortic stenosis are older in age. Over time, the aortic valve just becomes damaged from wear and tear. The degeneration of the aortic valve leads to a build up of calcium, which makes the valve become less mobile, which is what restricts the valve from opening easily.

Mild aortic stenosis usually isn’t a problem, but severe aortic stenosis can have bad side effects that can lead to worse complications. When a person has severe aortic stenosis and is experiencing symptoms or signs of heart weakness, he or she should seek treatment. Some signs and symptoms of aortic stenosis include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, passing out, and fatigue. Patients with severe aortic stenosis need treatment or they will not survive past a few more years.

A heart valve specialist can determine the severity of your aortic stenosis. A doctor can diagnose your aortic stenosis through listening for a murmur through a stethoscope, listening for a certain type of pulse, from an echocardiogram, and through a stress test.

Aortic stenosis must be treated through surgery. Medicine cannot treat this condition. A patient will need either an aortic valve repair or an aortic valve replacement. Not everyone is an eligible candidate for this surgery. To get this surgery, the benefits must be greater than the risks for the patient.

Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who performs TAVR and mini-AVR on his patients with aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve disease. To learn more about this surgery, click his aortic valve surgery page.

Looking for an Tampa Aortic Valve Surgeon?

If you have aortic valve disease, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon to see if you are a candidate for aortic valve surgery. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mini-AVR and TAVR. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery page or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater area.


What is structural heart disease? Structural heart disease is a type of heart disease that is the result of wear and tear on the heart valves, or a type of heart disease a person is born with. A tight or leaky heart valve is structural heart disease. If a person is born with a hole within the chambers of the heart, this is a structural heart disease from birth.

Right now, structural heart disease is one of the fastest growing fields in cardiology. Patients can now receive minimally-invasive surgeries and treatments that are a lot less risky than open-heart surgery. These new surgeries have less trauma and a faster recovery time for the patients.

Surgeons who deal with structural heart diseases have a specialist expertise level. A heart surgeon usually works with a cardiologist and an image specialist to determine the best course of action for the patient. Depending on the patient’s symptoms, age, and personal history, the doctors will determine if open-heart surgery or minimally-invasive surgery is the better option that will lead to the best result.

Structural heart procedures and surgeries include:

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
  • Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)
  • Paravalvular Leak Repair
  • Transcatheter mitral valve replacement
  • Balloon valvuloplasty for mitral stenosis
  • Repair of coarctation of the aorta
  • Repair of aneurysms
  • Repair of fistulas
  • Transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement

Looking for an Tampa Heart Valve Surgeon?

If you have structural heart valve disease, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mini-AVR and TAVR. He will be able to determine if you can have a minimally-invasive heart valve surgery or procedure. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery page or call 727-312-4844. Dr. Mikhail is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater area.


Mitral valve disease can be a serious condition when the mitral valve (the valve located between the left atrium and left ventricle heart chambers) no longer works properly. The mitral valve’s job is to keep blood flowing properly from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This valve is the one most often correlated with disease.  When the mitral valve isn’t functioning properly, the heart is not pumping enough blood out of the left ventricular chamber to provide the body with oxygen-enriched blood.

As of right now, medical research is not close to finding a medicine that can treat mitral valve disease. However, some medications, through studies, have shown some benefits for mitral valve disease patients. For a patient with mitral valve prolapse, beta-blocker metoprolol has been shown to potentially prevent the heart function from worsening over time. Some patients on this medicine were less likely to need surgery during their time on it. Studies published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that beta-blocker therapy may help patients with mitral valve prolapse and leaky valves. However, more trials are being done. Beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors may also help with reducing an enlarged heart back to its normal size.

Currently, the best course of action to fix mitral valve conditions is still mitral valve surgery. Visit our Mitral Valve Surgery page to learn more about this surgery, its benefits and risks, and what to expect before and after the surgery. Surgery can be scary, but it will improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life. These days, mitral valve procedures are minimally-invasive so they’re less traumatic to the body and require a shorter recovery time.

Schedule Mitral Valve Surgery in Tampa

If you suffer from mitral valve disease, don’t search for a medication to fix your valve, because surgery is the best solution if you have a severe condition.  Don’t hesitate, talk to a heart valve surgeon. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve surgery. He will be able to determine if you can have a minimally-invasive heart valve surgery or procedure. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery page or call 727-312-4844. Dr. Mikhail is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater area.


What is cardiac depression? Cardiac depression is a form of depression. It occurs after a heart event, such as heart valve surgery. People often feel alone, lost, and lack energy. After heart surgery, 20 to 40 percent of cardiac patients may begin to exhibit signs of depression.

Some doctors believe that depression after a cardiac event can lead to a poorer outcome for the patient, meaning the depression is a risk factor for heart disease and other outcomes following a heart event. So, depression can increase/create a vicious cycle of heart treatments/events and more depression.

The purpose of heart valve surgery is to give a patient a better quality of life. Certainly, life will not be better if the patient is depressed. Symptoms which usually appear if a person is clinically depressed after heart valve surgery include sadness, loss of sleep, too much sleep, loss of interest in activities the person once loved, increase in appetite, irritability, lack of focus, lack of concentration, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.

Depression can be treated through certain medications like SSRIs, also through therapy with a counselor. A patient’s family can also help him or her with depression by inviting him or her to more activities, planning more fun events, and being a support system to the patient.  New activities, meeting friends, reading a book, going on a trip, calling a friend, watching a movie and going for a walk are also good ideas to help a person alleviate symptoms of depression.

Many times, the doctor may not spot a patient’s depression during a checkup, so it’s important for the patient or the patient’s family to identify the possibility of depression to the doctor. The doctor will work with the patient and the family to find the best course of action to manage the depression and alleviate symptoms.

Schedule Your Tampa Mitral Valve Surgery, TAVR

If you recently had heart valve surgery and are experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor to have them checked out. If you suffer from heart valve disease and need surgery to repair or replace a valve, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon about your options. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who performs mitral valve surgery, TAVR and mini-AVR. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery contact page or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


Heart surgery is major surgery, even when it’s a minimally-invasive procedure.  After such a major surgery, a person will certainly need lots of rest and relaxation to recover properly.  Although you know your heart was just repaired, it can be hard to exercise patience. Who doesn’t want to get back to their normal routine as soon as possible? Even though you asked the doctor endless post-op questions prior to surgery, you still begin to wonder when you’ll be able to return to your normal daily activities.

Recovery can be hard both physically and mentally.  Your recovery is unique because you are a unique individual. Every patient heals differently and at a different rate.

For the first week post op, you most likely will be in the hospital. You will spend one to two days in the ICU and then be moved to a regular hospital room for the remainder of the week. During your hospital stay you will be walking regularly and gradually increasing physical activity, so you will be able to walk and go up and down stairs before you head home.

Before sending you home, the doctor will give you recovery instructions, such as watching for any signs of infection, incision care, pain management, and post-op side effects. You will still be sore, but may no longer be on pain meds. The doctor will determine how much physical activity you can do, and will encourage lots of rest throughout the day. The doctor may recommend cardiac rehabilitation, as well as permanent lifestyle changes when it comes to diet, physical activities, tobacco usage, and stress management to promote healing and recovery. If something hurts, stop doing it. Focus on performing activities that don’t hurt you.

Around the fourth or fifth week post-op, you will be getting close to being back to your normal activities. You can be back to work, can travel and celebrate a holiday without feeling awful. Although you are still not 100%, you will feel significantly better now.

Looking for a cardiac surgeon to perform your heart valve surgery? This is Dr. Peter Mikhail’s specialty. Dr. Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon based in New Port Richey, FL, and treats patients in Tampa and Clearwater. He is considered one of the foremost authorities and specialists in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844.


Today, we are going to discuss a treatment method for aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation – two serious conditions that affect the heart’s aortic valve – called Mini-AVR.

First, let’s talk about what those conditions are.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the cusps of the aortic valve become abnormally rigid and do not fully open. This narrowing of the valve creates resistance against the pumping of blood from the left ventricle to the rest of the body, and if left untreated, it can lead to heart failure.

Typically, this condition is the result of degeneration due to natural aging and health issues and calcium buildup on the valve cusps over time causes them to stiffen.

Aortic regurgitation occurs when the aortic valve allows blood to leak back into the left ventricle. It’s often caused by valve damage due to a recent infection or rheumatic heart disease, or it’s a congenital heart defect you were born with.

The symptoms of both conditions include shortness of breath, chest pain or heaviness, fainting or lightheadedness, decreased physical endurance during exercise, and swelling of the limbs.

The severity of aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation will determine treatment. A Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement, or Mini-AVR, involves the surgical replacement of the aortic valve with a prosthetic valve. Its benefits include less trauma and pain, better cosmetic results, a shorter recovery time, and a potentially lower financial cost.

During Mini-AVR surgery, a small incision is made in the upper chest area, and a cardiopulmonary bypass machine is used to take over functions of the heart and lungs, so that blood continues to flow around the heart and the body’s oxygen levels remain stable. A surgeon will open the aorta (and, if necessary, remove any diseased valve cusps), measure the valve ring, and insert the prosthetic valve.

The surgery typically takes about 2 to 3 hours. Several recent studies have shown that a Mini-AVR procedure is potentially safer than a conventional AVR procedure with a full sternotomy, which calls for much larger incision.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for aortic valve conditions. In some cases, medication may be effective treatment for aortic regurgitation. However, receiving timely surgery is often advised because a significant delay could lead to congestive heart failure.

Dr. Peter Mikhail is a cardiac and thoracic surgeon based in New Port Richey, Florida, who treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas. For more information on his practice or to schedule a consultation, visit Mitral Valve contact page or call 727-312-4844.


Heart valve problems don’t just develop and occur from poor dietary and lifestyle choices. Many times, patients who suffer from heart disease were born with heart valve deformities. For some, these deformities end up causing problems or raise concern later in life. For this article, we wanted to discuss the topic of bicuspid aortic valve disease, which is one type of heart disease.

When a person has bicuspid aortic valve disease, their valve has two flaps (leaflets) instead of three. Because of this missing flap, the valve does not function properly; however, it can function properly for many years in a person’s life. Even with this missing flap, a person may experience no symptoms for his or her entire life. How can a person be missing a flap? Much research has suggested this missing valve flap is due to a connective tissue disorder, which can also cause circulatory system problems. It is believed the two flaps develop in the womb and the defect usually is there from birth.

Even if a person is born with this defect, he or she often does not know about it until his or her adult years. As the valve gets older, symptoms occur; however, a murmur is usually present during childhood. It is a common disease that runs in families.  As a person ages, the valve and leaflets begin to thicken and restrict blood flow.  In older age, a person may experience chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fainting.

A doctor can determine if a person has bicuspid aortic valve disease by listening to the heart, by performing an echocardiogram, or by ordering CT scans or MRI of the heart. If a person is diagnosed, it is important to stay under the watch of a heart valve specialist. If this disease goes unwatched or untreated, a person can develop aortic aneurysms or heart failure.

About 30 percent of people with bicuspid aortic valve disease will develop complications. About 80 percent of people with this type of heart disease need surgery. Aortic valve surgery is performed on patients to repair or replace the diseased valve with a mechanical or biological valve.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve disease and are looking for a heart valve surgeon, Dr. Peter Mikhail performs mini-AVR on patients. He works in Tampa, Clearwaters, and the New Port Richey areas of Florida. Mini-AVR is a minimally-invasive procedure. To learn more about mini-AVR, click here. To book an appointment with Dr. Mikhail, click here or call 727-312-4844.




Whether you have suffered a heart attack or stroke, or have been told by your doctor that you are at an increased risk of heart issues, chances are you have been looking seriously into ways to change your lifestyle. Nothing prompts healthy lifestyle changes like a scare, but we don’t have to wait until we have a heart attack to find out we are at high risk before we take our lives into our own proverbial hands and make some healthy changes for the better.

For most of us, diet and exercise are the two areas where lifestyle and personal change can make a significant difference in our heart health and resulting risk factors. While it might be nice to think that medication alone is all that we need, effort on our part to make better, more healthy choices, is part and parcel to being healthy and to reduce the risk for issues or recurring issues.

Diet is an area where almost all of us fail to meet the recommended goals. For whatever reason, most of us eat a diet rich in fattening, oversized portions of convenience foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. While we do not have to resort to a life without cheeseburgers, we do have to make changes in what, how much, and how often we eat.

There are some simple rules of thumb for keeping your diet under control and changing your diet in more heart-healthy ways. First and foremost, watch the portion sizes. Most of us are shocked when we look a bit deeper and find out just how small a serving size truly is compared with the amount we serve ourselves. Using smaller plates gives you the illusion of eating more and can really help with portion control. Secondly, watch out for liquid calories. A lot of people don’t realize just how many calories they consume with their daily coffee drinks, soda, wine, beer, and juice. Switching out some of these sugar-laden drinks for water or unsweetened tea is a great heart-healthy choice.

When it comes to eating more heart healthy, there are some general tips that will make all dietary choices a bit easier. If we are mindful of the portion sizes we are eating and work to reducing the amount of food we eat to healthier levels, we can really reduce the amount of fat, calories, and artery-clogging foods we consume. Also, by making more cognizant beverage choices, we can reduce the amount of unnecessary sugar and calories we consume in liquid form. These small changes will reduce the amount of fat, sugar, and junk in our diet, promoting more healthy choices.

If you’re currently suffering from heart valve disease and considering surgery, contact Dr. Peter Mikhail. Dr. Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon based in New Port Richey, Florida. To book an appointment, click here or call 727-312-4844.


The aortic valve is vital to the proper functioning and regulation of blood flow from the heart. As a one-way valve, it conducts blood flow from the left ventricle of the heart to the all-important aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body. In a properly functioning aortic valve, the flaps that regulate the blood flow close so that no blood makes its way back into the ventricle of the heart. Failure of the flaps to close properly can create problems that can lead to a need for valve replacement surgery.

Any type of heart surgery sounds like a very serious and very scary prospect. However, aortic valve replacement can be a minimally invasive procedure that will replace the faulty valve with an artificial valve that properly functions and closes. Any type of condition that causes the valve to stop functioning and lets blood flow back into the ventricle is something that must be addressed or a whole host of other issues can result.

Sometimes, this is a problem that can be corrected by certain medications. However, this is not something that is effective in every case, leading to the need for other types of treatment. Using a procedure called a mini-aortic valve replacement, you can be on the mend in no time, with no need for super invasive surgical procedures.

With mini-aortic replacement, often called Mini-AVR, a 3- to 4-inch incision in the chest is all that is needed for the doctor to perform the corrective procedure. By going through the upper portion of the breast bone or chest wall this reduces the amount of scar tissue and size of the area affected by the surgery – which reduces both down time and recovery time. This procedure could not only save your life, but will have you back doing your normal routine before you know it.

Mini-AVR is a safe and effective way to treat a variety of different problems with the aortic valve. The aortic valve is an incredibly important element of the heart. With this type of surgery, you can be back in action in no time.

Do you currently suffer from aortic valve disease? Dr. Peter Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon who specializes in Mini-AVR. He will meet with you to discuss if you are a good candidate for this type of procedure based on your medical history, current condition, lifestyle and symptoms. To book an appointment with Dr. Mikhail, click here or call 727-312-4844. To learn more, click the Mini-AVR page.


Dr. Peter Mikhail is a thoracic and cardiac surgeon in Tampa, Clearwater, and New Port Richey, Florida. Dr. Mikhail is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery, The American Board of Thoracic Surgery and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Newsletter Sign Up

Copyright by Dr. Peter Mikhail | Site By Damonaz Design, LLC