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New Women’s Cardiac Surgery Center to Open Soon

From Dr. Larry Antonucci, Lee Health’s President and Chief Executive Officer

Shipley Cardiothoracic Center is a significant point of pride for us at Lee Health.

Located within HealthPark Medical Center, Shipley is a top-rated heart surgery program in Southwest Florida.

As the first in Florida to do transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) implants and MitraClips to treat leaky heart valves, our experts at Shipley have the most experience statewide in minimally invasive heart surgery.

Randall Buss, M.D., Paul DiGiorgi, M.D., Michael DeFrain, M.D., and David Cervantes, M.D., have 80 years of cumulative experience in heart surgery and a cumulative 50+ years performing heart surgery in our community. Their extensive experience includes TAVRs, MitraClips, thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) and bypass surgery.

This month, which is American Heart Month, Shipley is enhancing cardiac care for women with the opening of the Women’s Cardiac Surgery Center.  

Locally, data from our Lee County Health Needs Assessment shows that 32.8% of women have three or more chronic conditions, and 45.8% of that group of women are 65 years of age and older—these are our at-risk female patients.

Having a Women’s Cardiac Surgery Center (WCSC) will help elevate the concept of earlier referral and reduce the time to needed surgical intervention for women, and collaboration will be a top priority.

Though enrollment in Shipley’s research trials is currently better than national averages with 56% male and 43% female participation, overall research in heart disease has been predominately male-based. The addition of the Women’s Cardiac Surgery Center will help increase female enrollment in ongoing research trials conducted at Shipley, which can help women locally and across the country.

Like so much in health care, Shipley’s success is the direct result of collaboration and collegiality among multiple specialties, including cardiology, anesthesiology, radiology, nursing and the operating room teams. These teams meet weekly to discuss the care plan for each patient who needs valve replacement or repair – ensuring each patient receives the most comprehensive care possible.

To learn more about Shipley, please visit