Michael P. Pignone MD MPH FACP


Rheumatic Fever and the Heart

Rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the heart’s aortic and mitral valves. Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn’t properly treated can trigger rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage heart muscle and heart valves…

Effects of statins on heart attack or stroke risk

Evidence shows that statins may lower a person’s chance of having a heart attack or stroke, especially for people who are at high risk for one. The tables above show the number of people who will have a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years, arranged by risk level. The information shown here is based on the best…

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation (MR) is the leaking or backflow of blood through the valve between the upper left heart chamber (atrium) and the lower left heart chamber (ventricle). If serious, this condition can lead to a backup of blood in the left atrium and the lungs, cause enlargement of and damage to the left…

Mitral Valve Stenosis

Mitral valve stenosis is a heart condition in which the mitral valve—which regulates blood flow on the left side of the heart—fails to open as wide as it should. Although it has no immediate effect on health, eventually mitral valve stenosis can cause the left atrium to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed…

Balloon Valvotomy for Mitral Valve Stenosis

A balloon valvotomy is a treatment for mitral valve stenosis. It is a procedure that widens the mitral valve so that blood flows more easily through the heart. A balloon valvotomy is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses a thin flexible tube (catheter) that is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm and…