Michele Borgarelli, DVM, PhD
Professor, Cardiology

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

About Michele Borgarelli's research

The Comparative Cardiovascular Laboratory (CCVL), directed by Michele Borgarelli, is a translational research group that studies cardiovascular diseases affecting dogs and humans. The lab's research focuses on chronic degenerative mitral valve disease (CDVD) in dogs, which, among canines, is the most common heart valve disease and the most common cause of congestive heart failure. In addition, CDVD in dogs shares several features with the same disease in humans, and the disease's natural history and pathophysiology are very similar.

The CCVL's research focuses on the following:

  • Improving knowledge on pathophysiology of chronic degenerative mitral valve disease
  • The role of pulmonary hypertension due to left-sided heart failure
  • Developing new techniques for mini-invasively repair of mitral valve
  • The design and conduct of clinical trials in companion animal with chronic mitral valve disease

To achieve its research objectives, the CCVL research group collaborates with clinically oriented scientists and basic science researchers from U.S. and European institutions, and has established a collaborative partnership with private companies in order to develop new treatment strategies for CDVD. The lab's studies have contributed to the progression of knowledge on the pathophysiology, treatment, and prognosis of chronic mitral valve disease in dogs.

Research themes

  • Role of pulmonary hypertension in dogs with naturally occurring CDVD
  • Three-dimensional echocardiographic assessment of mitral valve and left ventricular function in dogs with CDVD
  • Minimally invasive repair of CDVD
  • Epidemiology and prognosis for dogs with CDVD: The LOOK-Mitral study
3D echocardiographic image: Mitral valve model
This model is created by analyzing 3D images acquired during echocardiography. This method allows measurements of several parameters of the valve and thorough interpretation of its complex morphology, which would not be possible with any other non-invasive imaging technique.
3D echocardiography: ventricle and mitral valve
Three-dimensional echocardiography allows us, in a completely non-invasive fashion, to study complex cardiac structure in a natural configuration. Left: left ventricle, mitral valve, and enlarged left atrium of a dog with mitral valve disease; top right: thickened mitral valve of a dog with mitral valve disease as visualized from the left atrium; bottom right: reconstruction of the left ventricle.
3D echocardiographic image: left ventricular analysis
By analyzing 3D echocardiographic images, a reconstruction of a beating left ventricle is created, and several complex parameters of ventricular size and function are generated.