Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Is Your Heart in the Right Place?

To Your Health

Photo by Scott Lowe | Dr. Schultz.

People often ask me why we choose to invest in a specific specialty or service line. The answer is usually not as complicated as they expect—it’s because our patients need it. The particular specialty or service line is often underrepresented in Southwest Florida, making our decision that much more impactful on the community. 

We all have an actual heart, but caring for that heart is another matter entirely—especially once we venture past a certain age and the risk of heart disease rises dramatically. 

According to the American Heart Association, roughly 1 out of 4 people in the U.S. suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, affecting blood flow throughout the body. Cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attacks, strokes, or other serious complications that may severely affect one’s quality of life. 

Not only does heart disease remain the #1 cause of death, but no other ailment is waiting in the wings to take its place. Heartcare demands our attention and resources. 

Taking good care of your heart in a timely fashion and can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease that leads to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious complications. In fact, 80% of all cardiac conditions are felt to be preventable. 

After several years of planning and strategizing, we officially opened our new Heart Center at Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge in July despite the COVID crisis. 

The Center is a multi-million-dollar renovation of nearly 17,000 square feet of our existing Pine Ridge hospital. The new, state-of-the-art facility includes two operating rooms, two new cardiac catheterization labs, one hybrid operating room, four intensive-care beds, and 15 beds for preoperative and postoperative care. 

The Heart Center at Physicians Regional includes the most advanced surgical equipment and technologies, allowing for a full range of invasive and interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery procedures, including openheart surgery, which is brand new to the healthcare system.  

Our cardiac care teams provide complete heart care servicesfrom helping you create a heart-healthy lifestyleincluding appropriate diet and exerciseto performing lifesaving procedures in emergency situations. 

Our clinical care is enhanced by a dedicated cardiovascular intensive care unit for openheart surgery patients and a new recovery area for cardiac catheterization and interventional patients. 

Longtime Naples-based cardiothoracic surgeon Scot Schultz, M.D., is now part of the medical staff at Physicians Regional Medical Group. Dr. Schultz serves as the Medical Director of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 

He is a graduate of the University of Miami, School of Medicine, and completed his residency at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, and his Fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC. 

If his name is familiar, it is likely because Dr. Schultz worked in Naples from 1998 to 2013 before accepting a career-defining role in South Carolina. He managed to lead what was widely known as a struggling program to become the #1 heart program in the state. 

Dr. Schultz was an active advisor throughout the development of our new Heart Center. When given the opportunity, he and his wife Beth returned to Florida to be part of its reality. 

“The idea of starting a new program was very appealing. In many ways, this is the culmination of my medical career. I was the first heart surgeon to call Naples home and work in Collier County, and now I get to lead its finest facility,” says Dr. Schultz. “My efforts in helping to develop the heart center is a blend of everything I have learned over my 22-year career.” 

Completing the duo of doctors for this new program is cardiothoracic surgeon Dennis Stapleton, M.D., a surgeon with over 30 years of experience in Southwest Florida. 

“I’m a believer that you have to surround yourself with good talent. I cannot do it alone,” says Dr. Schultz. “We have also been able to recruit some very skilled nursing and surgical technicians. We, by far, have the most skilled heart team in all of Southwest Florida.” 

Dr. Schultz, board-certified in thoracic surgery, specializes in adult cardiac surgery, which includes the treatment of congenital and acquired conditions of the heart. He has extensive experience in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, as well as heart valve repair and replacement, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). 

He is also experienced in thoracic surgery, including the detection and treatment of lung cancer and other common pulmonary conditions. “We have set ourselves apart in our delivery of services—and with our highly skilled staff. We have a very unique situation here: we have two cardiac-trained anesthesiologists. That’s all they docare for cardiac surgery patients. You won’t find that anywhere else in Southwest Florida. 

Plus, Dr. Schultz and Dr. Stapleton collectively have 50 years of experience. “As a physician, I pride myself on being fair, honest, and consistent. I believe my bedside manner is a genetic trait of mine—my father is a surgeon. My dad probably takes more pride in being a physician than anyone I know. He taught me so much in life, but perhaps most relevant to medicine is to be very thorough and treat everyone the same.  

What does this ultimately teach us? It’s all about literally—and figuratively—putting your heart in the right place. 

To schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment, please call 239-348-4221 or visit


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