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MITRAL VALVE BLOG

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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.


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Heart disease isn’t just for grownups. Unfortunately, babies and children can be born with or develop heart disease, too. Although age is a contributing factor to developing heart disease, it isn’t the only factor. Last month, there was great news in the heart health world – the FDA approved the world’s smallest mechanical heart valve for newborns and infants! Developed by Abbott Laboratories, this valve is called the Masters HP 15mm mechanical heart valve. Doctors can now use this to treat newborns or infants in need of a mitral valve or aortic valve replacement.

This announcement is truly a big deal. Before last month, heart valve surgeons had to use larger-sized valves, which were often unsuitable, on young children. Many children need this surgery. In fact, almost one in four children who live with critical heart defects may require surgery in the first year of their lives.  Around 40,000 babies are born with heart disease, known as congenital heart defect, each year.

This new valve is appropriately sized for a tiny body; it’s about the size of a U.S. dime. Doctors will be able to perform mitral valve surgery and aortic valve surgery on infants and babies using a mechanical valve that is the right size for their bodies. It is an exciting time to be a heart-valve surgeon; we have a new piece of equipment that can be a life-saving treatment option for newborns and infants.

Schedule Heart Valve Surgery in New Port Richey, Fl

If you have heart valve disease, you may be eligible for heart valve surgery for a heart valve repair or replacement. 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.


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When it comes to mitral valve surgery, there are two options: a mitral valve repair or a mitral valve replacement. Most heart valve surgeons, like Dr. Peter Mikhail, aim to do a mitral valve repair. Why? It’s always better to preserve and repair a person’s own valve/body part, if possible. Now if the valve is too badly damaged, a replacement will most likely be the solution. For this article, we share the advantages of having a mitral valve repair over a mitral valve replacement.

  • As stated above, surgeons aim to keep a person’s valve if possible. By performing a repair rather than a replacement, a surgeon is able to keep the natural shape and function of the heart.
  • Patients don’t have to be on life-long medications (blood thinners) with a repair. Mitral valve replacements require the patients to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives.
  • After a mitral valve repair, 82 to 87 percent of the repaired valves still work 15 years later. Replacement valves have a lower (in the 70s) percentage, and animal valves must be replaced after 10 to 12 years.
  • The mortality rates for repairs are lower than for replacements. On average, the mortality rates for repairs are 1 to 2 percent, and 5 to 7 percent for replacements.

Mitral valve repair is often performed on patients with mitral regurgitation, which is the most common heart valve disorder. Around 20 percent of men and women suffer from mitral regurgitation after the age of 55. The earlier mitral valve regurgitation is diagnosed, and the earlier surgery is performed, the better results people will have from the surgery.

Whenever possible, Dr. Mikhail will repair a valve rather than replace it. Dr. Mikhail meets with his patients to determine their eligibility for mitral valve surgery. He will also determine if the patient needs a mitral valve repair or replacement. He works with his patients before, during, and after surgery by answering all questions and providing them with the resources they need to return to their daily lives, and even have a better quality of life.

Wondering if you need a valve repair or replacement? Time to book a consult with a heart valve surgeon. The earlier you do this, the better! Dr. Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who performs mitral valve surgery, TAVR and mini-AVR. To book a consult, click our mitral 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.


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If you’re eligible for heart valve surgery, there’s a chance your mitral valve disease or aortic valve disease is at a serious level; you cannot ignore the disease when it is this severe, and medication will not be able to manage the damage or the symptoms you’re experiencing. Talk to a heart valve surgeon about the surgery and find out if you are a good candidate for it. Find out what type of heart valve surgery is the best for your current condition. Be armed with many questions for your doctor. Surgery is a big deal, and it’s important to be an informed patient.

Surgery can be scary, but it can also save your life. As with any surgery, there are benefits and risks to both mitral valve and aortic valve surgery (TAVR, mini-AVR). For this article, we want to share with you some of the benefits and risks of this surgery to help you have a better idea of what is involved.

Minimally-Invasive Heart Valve Surgery Benefits

  • Quicker, more comfortable surgery compared to open-heart surgery
  • Tiny scar(s), which are usually hidden
  • Minimal pain post-op
  • Fewer wound infections, complications
  • Short hospital stay
  • Fast turnaround back to normal daily activities
  • Restored strength and energy
  • Longer life
  • Preservation of heart function
  • Longer durability on repairs over replacements
  • Lower risk of stroke and infection
  • No need to use blood thinners
  • Lifestyle will improve due to a healthier heart

 

Minimally-Invasive Heart Valve Surgery Risks

  • Blood clots and blood leakage around the valve
  • Inflammation of the heart lining (endocarditis)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Breathing complications
  • Infections in heart valves, chest, bladder, kidneys, lungs or other areas of the body
  • Damage to other organs, nerves, or bones
  • Kidney failure
  • Wounds not healing properly
  • Death

As stated above, there are benefits and risk with ANY type of surgery. The best option for most patients with severe mitral valve disease or aortic valve disease is surgery, as medications cannot repair the valve. Valve repair (if possible) is often better than replacement because it provides better heart function, a lower risk of complications, a longer lifespan, and doesn’t require the life-long use of blood thinners. Tampa heart valve surgeon, Dr. Peter Mikhail, discusses all benefits and risks of heart valve surgery with his patients.

If you have a history of heart disease in your family or currently suffer from heart disease, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon. 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.


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Did you know there is a link between depression and heart disease? The mind is a powerful thing; it’s connected to your entire body, so it’s no wonder that when it’s not doing well it can have harmful, physical affects on other parts of the body.  Both depression and heart disease are often interconnected and can occur together.

One study from the 1990s followed people with coronary artery disease over a 12-month period. This study found that whether or not a patient had a major depressive disorder was a predictor for future cardiac events. Depression’s effects on the heart were as strong as smoking. In other studies, the death rates from cardiac events were correlated to those who had depression and higher rates of arrhythmias.

One in three patients who have had a heart attack will experience depression in the first year following the attack. Depression is more common in women than in men. About 1 in 5 people who have a heart attack experience depression shortly thereafter. Diagnoses of depression do increase a person’s chance of heart problems. People with depression but who don’t have heart disease have been known to develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population.

If diagnosed with depression, a person can be properly treated with antidepressants which can help both their head and heart. People with depression following a heart attack have a lower chance of recovery and a higher risk of death than those without depression, so it’s essential to diagnose these mental health symptoms and treat them properly.

Positive mental health can truly have a good effect on the body through behavioral and lifestyle choices and changes that help the heart. People who properly take their medications, have a positive attitude, and follow healthy habits daily (diet and exercise) will experience a positive effect on health and lower their risk for heart disease.

It’s important for doctors to properly treat patients who are exhibiting signs of depression before or after a heart attack, so they can lead a happier, healthier life.

If you have heart disease or depression, talk to your doctor today about your heart and mental health options. If you’re looking for a heart valve surgeon to correct your heart valve disease, Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


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Heart valves allow blood to move forward (not backward). If the blood flows or leaks backwards, there is a problem with a valve. When the heart pumps blood, it’s pushing the blood forward so oxygen-filled blood can reach every inch of the body. The heart has four valves: Left-side valves (mitral valve and aortic valve) and right-side valves (tricuspid valve and pulmonic valve).

The mitral valve is the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle; the aortic valve is between the left ventricle and the body; the tricuspid valve is between the right atrium and right ventricle; the pulmonic valve is between the right ventricle and the arteries of the lungs.

Heart valves are notorious for having problems, including leakiness. A leaky valve is known as regurgitation. Leakiness is designated as trivial, mild, moderate, or severe. Both trivial and mild leaky valves are common and are of no real concern. Moderate leakiness usually does not cause a problem in a person but needs to be monitored throughout the year. Severe leakiness usually needs to be corrected by a surgery or procedure. Severe leakiness can lead to symptoms of heart failure as there may not be enough blood pushing forward, which can affect the heart negatively.

When the valves are tight, this is known as stenosis. Stenosis is designated as mild, moderate, or severe. For the most part, only severe stenosis is treated through surgery or a procedure. When the valves are too tight, the heart is working harder to pump blood; the heart becomes stressed, which can lead to heart enlargement and heart failure.

How does a person usually find out that a heart valve is malfunctioning? A doctor will usually hear a heart murmur through a stethoscope; a heart murmur is a good indicator for leakiness or tightness. Each valve will have different murmur patterns. Echocardiograms can also diagnose problems with heart valves.

Does heart valve disease run in your family? Get yourself checked! Preventative care will help keep you healthier longer. Don’t ignore the symptoms – seek treatment.  If you currently suffer from heart disease and are looking for a surgeon, Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


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Marijuana is no longer illegal everywhere, as many states have legalized its usage for both medicinal and recreational purposes. It is a commonly used drug. In recent years, more reports have emerged about marijuana’s cardiovascular side effects. These side effects may be uncommon, but they can still be potentially harmful.

Some studies and theories state that marijuana slows down the blood flow in the coronary arteries. One study showed a patient passing out after marijuana usage; this patient developed dangerous heart rhythms from the reduction of blood flow in the coronary arteries. After the marijuana was out of the system, the flow reverted to normal, as well as the heart rhythm. In another case, the slow coronary blood flow due to marijuana usage led to a major heart attack.

The body’s heart rate and blood pressure increase within minutes of using marijuana despite people saying the drug has relaxing effects. Statistically, people who use marijuana are more likely to use other illegal drugs, more likely to smoke, and have a poorer diet, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

One of the more common side effects of marijuana usage reported is an irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation). Usually, the afib occurred right after inhaling. Often, afib can occur without the person even knowing. Usually, there was no recurrence once the marijuana usage stopped.

In one study, the risk of heart attack increased 5 times the average after one hour after using the drug. Other reports have found this same finding.
It can be hard to target marijuana as the sole reason a person is experiencing heart problems, because often the person is also a smoker or uses other drugs, so to put the blame solely on marijuana would be false. As more studies and reports study marijuana’s relation to heart disease and other heart problems, we will be able to see if there is a correlation, and if marijuana causes harmful side effects to the heart. Despite there not being many studies proving one way or another if the drug’s effect on the heart is bad, it is still good to keep in mind that the drug may have some harmful effects.

If you experience afib or any other issues with your heart, it’s time to get 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 here or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


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February has just past, and whether you’re in a relationship or not, you may have had your share of Valentine’s Day candies. Who can resist the heart-shaped chocolates in the store? Since you may have consumed an excess amount of chocolate, you may be wondering, “Is chocolate even good for me? And my heart?” The good news: it is! However, you should be eating it in moderation. Too much of anything can be bad for the body.

Chocolate has positive benefits on the body. How? It can help promote better blood flow, lower blood pressure and improve some cardiac conditions. A few years ago, researchers from Boston to Birmingham conducted a trial and found that chocolate helps the heart because of the flavonoids it contains. Studies have showed people with higher weekly consumption of chocolate had the lowest risk for heart disease, but if you replaced that chocolate with candies (non-chocolate) they could actually double their heart disease risk.

Flavonoids are a nutritional subset of polyphenols, which help lower incidences of coronary heart disease and stroke. The highest flavonoid amount is found in dark chocolate.

According to the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, polyphenols help to improve the health of the blood vessels.  In one study, people who consumed 16-100 grams of chocolate per day benefitted the most from consumption.

Dark chocolate isn’t the answer to all your heart problems though! Eating chocolate all day will not make you the healthiest person. You still need to consume a heart-healthy diet full of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

So, enjoy a piece or two of that left-over Valentine’s candy!

If you have a history of heart disease in your family or currently suffer from heart disease, it’s time to talk to your doctor about the best heart-healthy diet for your specific needs.  If you suffer from heart disease and potentially need surgery, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


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You just had heart valve surgery. Be proud of yourself and your body for undergoing some major surgery to enable you to lead a healthier, longer life. But, now what? What do you do after heart valve surgery? How do you take care of your heart? We want to share some basic things you will need to do to stay healthy after heart valve surgery.

Right after surgery, you will be told to walk regularly, perform breathing exercises and gradually increase activity. Your doctor will give you recovery instructions, such as to watch for any signs of infection, incision care, pain management, and post-op side effects. Your doctor will determine when you can return to daily activities. Cardiac rehabilitation (to help improve health and help with recovery) may be recommended by your doctor, as well as permanent lifestyle changes when it comes to diet, physical activities, tobacco usage, and stress management.

If you had mitral valve surgery recently or even a few years back, you may be wondering “How do I take care of myself going forward?” If your repair went well, your doctor will check up on you periodically. If he or she doesn’t hear anything irregular through a stethoscope, no extra testing will be needed, especially if you feel fine and have no alarming symptoms. If you’ve had an artificial valve put in, your doctor will pay attention to its wear and tear and know when it needs to be replaced again.

If you’ve had a good repair by a good surgeon, your heart (and new valves) should be long-lasting. There is no need to repeat unnecessary tests if you feel fine and the doctor hears or sees no problem during a physical exam.

Your doctor will continue to recommend that you eat well, watch salt intake, watch your weight, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and aim to do some form of exercise regularly.

If you stick to healthy diet and exercise choices and get checked up once or twice a year by your doctor, you will continue to keep your heart happy and healthy.

If you suffer from heart disease, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon about your options. If you’re looking for a great heart valve surgeon, Dr. Peter Mikhail specializes in mitral valve surgery and TAVR. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater areas.


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Survival and mortality rates isn’t a subject anyone is excited to talk about, but we must talk about it when it comes to having heart valve disease and surgery.

There are potential risks when undergoing any surgery, even a minimally-invasive surgery. When it comes to heart valve surgery, there isn’t a set percentage, per se, for the survival or mortality rates, because it’s very situational; the numbers depend on the patients. For example, a healthy 50-year-old who needs to undergo heart valve surgery might have a 0.5 percent risk of death (1 out of 200), but an 85-year-old patient with other health problems could have a 10 to 15 percent (or more) mortality rate. However, to give you a ballpark average, according to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons the mortality rate for heart valve surgery is about 1.7 percent. In some clinics, this percentage is even lower.

If you’re having heart valve issues, an experienced heart valve surgeon, like Dr. Peter Mikhail, will meet with you, give you an exam and look at your history to determine if you are a candidate for mitral valve surgery, mini-AVR or TAVR. Even if you are a good candidate, the doctor will make you aware of the risks that come along with the procedure. If the procedure is too risky for you, the doctor will not suggest surgery.

If a person with severe heart disease is a candidate for surgery, then surgery is highly recommended. Without surgery, the patient could risk an early death. For example, a person who has severe aortic stenosis only has an average 50 percent survival rate after 2 years with the severe disease and only 20 percent after five years if he or she goes without surgery.

Each year, more than 700,000 heart surgeries take place globally, and more than 250,000 of these surgeries are valve repairs and replacements. With such a large number of people undergoing this surgery you don’t have to worry about having some new, untested surgical procedure.

If you’re hesitant about having heart valve surgery, we understand. You want to look for a surgeon who will answer all your questions, and who is extremely experienced in this type of surgery. Dr. Peter Mikhail, who is based in New Port Richey, Florida, is one of the foremost authorities and specialists in mitral valve surgery, mini-AVR and TAVR. To book a consultation, click here or call his office at 727-312-4844.


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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.

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