Please wait...



Did you know a painkiller, one that’s probably in your medicine cabinet right now, can increase your risk of heart disease? Scary thought, right? Well, over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been proven to increase the risk of heart disease through heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown a 20 to 50 percent increase in risk of heart attack when using NSAIDs compared to when not using them.

It’s best to take these types of medications in small doses and for a short time so they will not have serious effects on your heart. Don’t become a regular user.

Common NSAIDs you can find in your home include ibuprofen and naproxen, the most common being Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Aspirin is a type of NSAID but not does not increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.  All these over-the-counter NSAIDs are used to treat pain and inflammation in the body.

If you currently suffer from any heart condition, you should take NSAIDs with caution, and definitely talk to your doctor about taking them.  For people with heart conditions, NSAIDs can potentially make your conditions worse. You don’t have to stop taking NSAIDs, especially if you’re in a lot of pain, but be mindful of how, when, and why you’re taking them.

Even if you currently don’t have a heart condition, be cautious when taking NSAIDS. If you truly need to take one for pain relief, aim to take the smallest dosage, and not for an extended period.

Studies haven’t proven that NSAIDs cause heart attacks, but some research shows that NSAIDs can increase blood pressure or raise the risk of a blood clot, which can lead to a heart attack.

Even though these NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications, you should be careful with them in the same way you would be with a prescription-level painkiller. Medication is medication, and too much of any kind can do you harm.

If you have heart disease and need surgery on your valves, Dr. Peter Mikhail performs mitral valve surgery and aortic valve surgery in and around Tampa, Clearwater, and New Port Richey, Florida. To book a consult, click here or call 727-312-4844.


A good part of a person’s heart health is dictated by diet. The food we eat can either be our medicine or our poison. Of course, no one has the “perfect” diet. Moderation is key when choosing foods to eat. It is OK to eat some desserts and snack foods on occasion, so long as your diet is full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean proteins as well. Micronutrients are essential for your body to grow and thrive. Since our diets cannot be perfect on a daily basis, it is OK to supplement one’s diet with vitamins, although it is best to discuss taking vitamins and supplements with your doctor.

If you think you may be deficient in a vitamin, get tested. If you are deficient, your doctor will recommend what to do to get your numbers in a normal range. Many vitamins and supplements can be used to manage cardiovascular health and are a good idea to take to keep your heart in a healthy state, whether you have heart valve disease or not. It should always be your goal to work towards having a healthy heart.

Below, we share some of the best vitamins and supplements you can take that your heart will benefit from and to keep heart disease at bay, or to keep your heart from deteriorating further.

Omega-3 (Fish Oil) –  This supplement is great for people who are at risk for heart disease because it helps balance cholesterol and triglycerides.  It also helps slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries and is known to lower blood pressure.

Vitamin D – A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to heart problems, including raising the risk for a heart attack.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – This supplement produces energy in the mitochondria of cells. It is also an antioxidant that fights off free radicals, and manages blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps with the health of the arteries and heartbeat.

Magnesium – Magnesium helps support relaxation and dilation of vascular and arterial walls. It also helps move potassium and sodium through cells.

Other vitamins and supplements to take for heart health: Niacin, L-carnitine, and turmeric.

If you currently live with heart disease and are considering heart valve surgery, Dr. Peter Mikhail is a specialist in mitral valve and aortic valve surgery. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida. For more information on valve surgery, click here. To book an appointment with Dr. Mikhail click here or call 727-312-4844.


If you’re experiencing symptoms of heart disease, there’s a good chance you’ve gone to see your doctor. Chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath are all red flags that should send you to your doctor immediately. If a doctor hears anything alarming through a stethoscope, he or she will suggest you have some testing done to confirm if you have heart disease. You will also need to make an appointment with a cardiologist. One such test you will have to take is a stress test.

A stress test can help the doctors determine if you have heart disease.  One type of stress test, and the one most often used, is the exercise stress test.  During an exercise stress test, you will either walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. The doctor will use the test to track your electrocardiogram, heart rate and blood pressure.

What does this test do or show? An exercise stress test will show a few things to the doctor, including:

  • If enough blood is flowing to the heart during activity
  • If there are any abnormal heart rhythms
  • If the heart valves are functioning properly
  • If you have coronary heart disease
  • If your symptoms (chest pain, palpitations, dizziness) are being caused by a heart issue
  • If your heart medications are working (if you’re on any) and how

Before the test, you cannot eat or drink anything except water for four hours prior to the test, and cannot have caffeine for 12 hours before the test. There are also certain medications your doctor will tell you that you cannot take before the test, – your doctor will advise you.

Before you begin exercising on the test, an EKG will be done to take your heart rate at rest. After the EKG, you will begin exercising. The exercising will gradually get more difficult to get you exhausted. You will be asked throughout how you are feeling and if you’re experiencing any symptoms. The test lasts about 60 mins, but you’re only exercising around 10 minutes.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to talk to your doctor and see if a stress test is a good idea. Depending on the test’s results, you’ll want to see a cardiologist. If you’re looking for a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Peter Mikhail specializes in mitral valve and aortic valve surgery. To book an appointment with him, click here or call 727-312-4844.



You’ve probably heard the term “statins” before. In case you haven’t, statins are a class of lipid-lowering/cholesterol-lowering medications. They are known to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, chest pain, strokes, heart attacks, and death in people. For this article, we want to share a general overview of statins and heart disease and if a person should or should not be taking them. Ultimately, this is a conversation to be had with your primary care doctor or cardiologist. Every patient’s situation is different and should be handled differently.

Many studies have shown that statins have been able to keep people alive longer by reducing the risk and number of heart attacks and strokes a person will or may experience. Statins help in preventing the arteries from building plaque and becoming blocked. They inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase.

If you happen to have many of the risk factors of developing heart disease (and not just solely based on your age), a doctor may recommend this drug to you. The statins help reduce the chance of heart disease by preventing atherosclerosis, which is blocked arteries or narrowed blood vessels.

Like any drug, there are side effects and risks. Some side effects include: muscle aches and cramps, pins and needles feeling, bloating, diarrhea, rashes, stomach pain, cataracts, impaired memory, headaches, liver failure, skeletal muscles and diabetes.

If you suffer from heart disease or are at a high risk, your doctor may put you on a statin regardless of your cholesterol levels. On average if your risk is over 7.5 percent in the next 10 years, the doctor will likely prescribe a statin.

If you are a heart disease patient, it is time to discuss with your doctor if a statin is right for you. If medication is not an option, heart valve surgery may be recommended. Dr. Peter Mikhail of Tampa, Clearwater, and New Port Richey, Florida, performs mitral valve surgery and mini-AVR on patients with mitral valve disease and aortic valve disease. To book an appointment or learn more, click here or call 727-312-4844.



Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Each year, more than 600,000 people die from a form of this disease. Each year, more than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease. But, why? Why do so many people develop heart disease? When it comes to heart disease, there are a number of different risk factors that can lead a person to developing one of the many forms of heart disease. Below, we share with you some of the common risk factors associated with heart valve disease.

Genetics – Heart disease or abnormalities can commonly run in families, especially bicuspid aortic valve disease or mitral valve prolapse.

Age – As we get older, the heart valve ages as well. The flaps (leaflets) in the valves can thicken and harden as they get older which causes a restriction of blood flow. Men over 65 years old and women over 75 years old are at the highest risk for developing heart valve disease.

Heart attack – When a person has a heart attack, this can cause damage to the heart, and affect the function of the valves.

High blood pressure – If a person has perpetual high blood pressure, the heart works harder, so it becomes enlarged. The enlarged heart causes valves to stretch, which can keep the valves from closing correctly.

Cardiomyopathy – If the person has an enlarged heart, not only are the valves stretched, but the tissue ring around them also becomes stretched. If this does occur, leakage in the valves will happen.

Calcium deposits – Calcium deposits can start to build up in the mitral or aortic valves.

Rheumatic fever – Rheumatic fever can damage a person’s heart valves because it causes them to thicken so they no longer open and close properly.

If you fit one or more of these risk factors and are experiencing some symptoms, it may be time for you to contact a doctor. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon specializing in mitral valve surgery and mini-AVR. If you’re looking for a cardiac surgeon to perform your heart valve surgery, click here for more information or call 727-312-4844 to book an appointment with Dr. Mikhail.


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.


Heart valve surgery is a major life event. If you are planning on this surgery, you are most likely well-versed in the ins and outs of what you’ll be experiencing during pre-operation and post-operation. After the surgery, your focus will be on healing and getting your life back to normal. Whether you were an active person or not before the heart valve surgery, exercise will be crucial to your healing process. Exercise is just one great way to help prevent your heart from having a major issue again.

Exercise is recommended and encouraged after heart valve surgery. Since you’ll be in recovery, there will be more precautions to keep in mind. Your body just went through the major trauma of surgery, so it’s important to ease into exercise to prevent injury or complications.

When you first get home from the hospital after surgery, it is recommended that you slowly increase the amount of activity you do. In the first week, you want to do around 5 minutes of exercise several times throughout the day. As each week passes, you’ll increase the activity time. This type of activity could be just a slow walk around the neighborhood.

As you heal, you will be in contact with your cardiac surgeon; he or she will tell you when you’re cleared for certain types of exercises, including aerobic activities and weight training. If you were active pre-op, your doctor understands your urgency to get back to normal as soon as possible, and will work with you to make sure you are stable (no shortness of breath or heart rhythm issues) before approving you for physical activities.

Every patient is different. The doctor will ask you to take it easy with any exercise you start and will want you to monitor how you feel after each exercise and workout. Make sure to tell the doctor what types of exercise you plan to do. The clearance for weight training may be different from biking or walking, due to the exercise’s effects on the body. It makes no difference to the doctor what type of exercise you choose, as long as you do it safely.

If you’re looking for a cardiac surgeon to perform your mitral valve surgery or mini-AVR, Dr. Peter Mikhail specializes in these surgeries; he is based in New Port Richey, Florida. To learn more, click the Mitral Valve Surgery page or the MINI-AVR page. To book an appointment, click here or call 727-312-4844.



Mobile apps are the “thing” right now, even in the medical industry. You’ve probably heard of food log apps and step tracking apps, but there happens to be many heart-healthy mobile apps out there that heart disease patients can use. Below, we wanted to share some good mobile apps that can help you on your journey of taking control of your health.

Cardiio – This app can monitor your heart rate, as well as determine your level of cardiovascular health and fitness.  Your phone’s camera measures your heartbeat. The app looks at the light reflected off your face to get its reading. This was developed by people at Harvard University and MIT.

Azumio – Azumio is like Cardiio and it can check your pulse. With this app, you place your pointer finger on the camera and your pulse reading will appear on the screen.

Blood Pressure Companion – This app records heart rate and blood pressure. You can take notes in this app and set reminders for you to take your readings. In this app, you’ll be able to track all your readings for yourself and a doctor.

Digifit iCardio –  In this app, you can track your exercise and progress. You can integrate different music apps and social media sites to go along with your workout. You can track your weight, blood pressure, and sleep. You can also connect this with your Fitbit or other heart rate monitor.

Heart Healthy Meal Planner – The Heart Foundation created this app for people to create heart-healthy meal plans. Within the app, you have access to advice on foods to eat, meal ideas, and recipes. There is a heart symbol shown next to choices that are heart healthy.

Do you currently suffer from heart valve disease? If you’re a candidate for surgery, Dr. Peter Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, as well as mini-AVR. These procedures require less recovery time than traditional open heart surgery. Dr. Mikhail is based in New Port Richey, Florida. To learn more or to book a consult with the doctor, visit the Mitral Valve Surgery page or call (727) 312-4844.



Although minimally invasive, mitral valve surgery or mini-AVR are major procedures that are taxing on the body. With any type of surgery, the recovery period is important. After valve surgery, a patient will spend several days in the hospital while the doctor and nurses monitor recovery and pain. After 4 to 6 weeks post-op, your doctor will schedule a follow up appointment to check in on your recovery. For this post, we want to share some thoughts and tips about recovery from heart valve surgery. Recovery is different for each patient, but there are many things to follow and take note of that will help you recover faster and better.

  • Listen to your doctor, and follow the recovery instructions given to you at the hospital.
    • Questions to ask your doctor about your recovery
      • Am I able to lift things on my own? How heavy?
      • When can I drive a car?
      • When can I go back to work?
      • Should I be exercising? What can I do or not do?
      • What medications will I be taking or should stop taking?
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept someone’s offer to help you. Whether it’s making food or running an errand, a family member or friend can help you do daily tasks while you get as much rest as you can.
    • Eat a healthy diet full of variety. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish and whole grains are recommended. Your doctor will recommend the best diet plan for you to follow.
    • Take note: there are some things you may not be able to do easily right after heart valve surgery, including: tying your shoes, climbing stairs, cooking, raising your arms above your head, sitting up on your own, or cleaning.
    • You may hear your new heart valve as it opens and closes.

If you have been diagnosed with mitral valve disease or aortic valve disease, meet with Dr. Peter Mikhail to discuss your surgical options. Dr. Mikhail is a cardiac surgeon in New Port Richey, Florida, specializing in mitral valve surgery and mini-AVR. To book a consult and for more information, click here or call 727-312-4844.


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