Dr. Gaston Cudemus is Chief Cardiac Anesthesiology Section Head and Cardiovascular Critical Care Medical Director of the ECMO program at the NCH Healthcare System. This month, as we explore health and wellness, we had to catch up with the doctor with his finger on the pulse of heart health in our region.
Naples Lifestyle magazine: What excites you about the growth of cardiac care in Naples?
Dr. Cudemus: Currently, we are focusing on building and developing a multidisciplinary cardiac team comprised of highly specialized physicians that have been trained at the top five institutions in the nation. I’m excited to be part of this world-class cardiac institute with the goal of becoming the preferred destination for cardiac care in Florida and the U.S
NL: Tell us about some new tools, treatments or medical trends at NCH.
Dr. Cudemus: In my new role at NCH, I am working on formalizing the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) support program. This program will help to advance the level of care for the patients on ECMO. We now have the expertise and experienced staff to help support and take care of these critically ill patients. In an effort to advance this program, we have new specialized machines that will support the right side and left side of the heart along with the lungs.
Additionally, we recently just opened the new Cardiovascular Operating Rooms (CVOR) and Cardiovascular Intensive Care Units (CVICU) at the NCH Baker Hospital in downtown Naples. These new areas complement our plans calling for a dedicated cardiac services center devoted to offering our region the best cardiac care possible as we grow to meet the needs of our growing community. These new units are just two more ways that NCH remains committed to offering our community the best nationally-recognized cardiac care possible.
Looking ahead to the future of the NCH Heart Institute, we hope to also begin a fellowship program that will take the program to the next level of care in the cardiac arena in Southwest Florida.
NL: What is one change our readers can make to improve their heart health?
Dr. Cudemus: The best thing people can do to improve their heart health is exercise. Committing to doing 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic exercise will help improve heart health. This could include activities such as walking at a brisk pace, running, or biking.
NL: How did you land in Naples?
I received my medical education at the Universidad Central de Venezuela with post-graduate work at University of Miami - Jackson Memorial Hospital then the University of Southern California. I worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and was then named the Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support at the Cleveland Clinic Weston before coming to Naples.