Fawcett Memorial Hospital
October 24, 2017

Dennis J. Stapleton, M.D. is a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon with over 30 years of experience in the field of medicine. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors. After earning his medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Stapleton completed seven years of clinical training in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fawcett Heart Center welcomes Dr. Stapleton from the Naples area where he was appointed the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NCH Heart Institute. He specializes in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), minimally invasive surgery for acquired and congenital heart valve disease, robotic and video assisted thoracoscopic surgery for benign and malignant conditions of the chest and lung, mediastinal tumors, aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Coronary artery bypass grafting is a type of surgery to treat people who have severe coronary artery disease. The results are improved blood flow to the heart. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the narrowing of the coronary arteries; blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. CAD is caused by a build-up of plaque within the walls of the arteries. If the blood supply to your heart muscle decreases, you may have a heart attack. One way to treat the blocked or narrowed arteries is to bypass the blocked portion of the coronary artery with a piece of a healthy blood vessel from elsewhere in your body. Dr Stapleton attaches one end of the graft above the blockage and the other end below the blockage. Blood bypasses the blockage by going through the new graft to reach the heart muscle. Symptoms of coronary artery disease may include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, swelling in the hands and feet, and indigestion.

The heart has four valves: the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral, and aortic valves. Heart valve disease occurs if one or more of your heart valves don't work well. Causes of heart valve disease may include birth defects, age-related changes, infections or other conditions resulting in one or more of your heart valves to not open fully or to let blood leak back into the heart chambers. This can make your heart work harder and affect its ability to pump blood. Many people don't have symptoms while others have heart valve disease that slowly worsens until symptoms develop. If not treated, advanced heart disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots or sudden cardiac arrest. Minimally invasive surgery is available to repair or replace your faulty heart valve.