Luis Dibos, M.D., board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, and Farhan Majeed, M.D., board-certified interventional cardiologist, recently spoke to a full room at Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside about aortic valve stenosis (AS). In attendance were more than 30 local physicians and allied health professionals specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, cardiology, vascular surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

To those in attendance, Drs. Dibos and Majeed discussed aortic valve pathology, the symptoms and signs of the disease and how to diagnose patients through clinical examination, imaging studies and cardiac catheterization. They focused on aortic valve replacement (AVR) as the definitive treatment for aortic stenosis and reviewed the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, presenting the data supporting both surgical and percutaneous transcatheter options for aortic valve replacement in the appropriate patient.

“Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve, which separates the main pumping chamber of the heart from the rest of the body,” says Luis Dibos, M.D. “When the valve develops calcium on the leaflets, the opening and closing of the valve becomes restricted to the point in which it barely opens and closes. This causes a large amount of stress on the heart causing the heart to thicken and progressively become weaker. These changes result in patients developing symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath or passing out with exertion. Once patients develop symptoms related to severe aortic stenosis, it is very important for them to have their heart valve replaced as this is a life-threatening condition.”

Dr. Dibos is Medical Director of Cardiothoracic Services at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, where he leads the open heart surgery team. Since 1996, he has performed over 6,000 cardiac surgical cases including complex aortic surgery, minimally invasive valve surgery and off-pump coronary bypass surgery. He has also been involved in over 100 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures.

At this educational event, Dr. Dibos was joined by Dr. Farhan Majeed, an interventional cardiologist who has recently moved to Port Charlotte from New York. Dr. Majeed has completed advanced fellowship training in interventional cardiology, peripheral/endovascular interventions, and structural heart disease interventions. He has performed over 10,000 coronary and peripheral interventions and last year performed over 400 structural heart disease interventions including 250 transcatheter aortic valve replacements. He is specialized in the invasive catheter-based treatment of cardiac, peripheral and structural heart diseases.

“Due to the very poor outcome in patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, it is crucial that we be able to provide our community with state-of-the-art treatment for this disease, which is present in over 7% of the United States population greater than 65 years of age. By working as a team and developing a program together, we can offer patients a comprehensive evaluation and innovative surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) therapies. Over 50% of patients will not be able to get a surgical aortic valve replacement due to their multiple medical problems, age and frailty. It is crucial that we can provide these patients and others with minimally invasive options such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the community where they live,” says Dr. Majeed.

Both Drs. Dibos and Majeed encourage individuals to never ignore their symptoms and always seek medical care from their physician. Aortic stenosis is a very treatable condition. These comprehensive and innovative therapies will greatly improve the survival and quality of life of patients.

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