Top Doctors 2010: The Evolution
Medicine keeps moving forward, thanks to practitioners such as these.
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Top Doc Gilbert Leidig Jr. of Cardiology Physicians in Newark and Wilmington believes that a doctor’s life experiences have a huge effect on how he practices medicine. One of Leidig’s most significant experiences was his 12 years as an Army doctor, when he learned both the drawbacks of single-provider health care (lots of waiting in line) and the benefits (doctors working hard with highly motivated patients to provide cost-effective, quality care).
The Army’s medical system, he says, instilled a can-do attitude in him. “You want to do your best for the service members because of what they give for our country,” he says. Though his current patients are civilians, Leidig continues to focus on prevention and on connecting with those in his care. “The better the listener, the better the physician,” he says.
The good news in heart health is that fatalities from heart attacks are down and patients with heart disease are living longer, more productive lives. Leidig points to several improvements in testing and treatment that have made those results possible.
One of the biggest has been the introduction of drug-eluting stents, he says. Stents are implanted to open blocked arteries. In the past, there was a 15 percent to 20 percent chance of scar tissue building at the implant site, which meant the procedure had to be repeated or a bypass operation done. Implanting stents coated with drugs has reduced the incidence of scar tissue to about 2 percent of cases. Another new development allows doctors to accurately measure fractional flow reserve, or pressure in the artery, so that they can determine which blockages are problematical enough to require a stent. That test has led to fewer unnecessary stent procedures.
He also points out that today’s cholesterol-lowering drugs are safer and more potent, which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. Now that there is long-term evidence of the safety of these drugs, he adds, doctors feel more comfortable using them to treat young patients aggressively.
Leidig stresses to his patients that they need to be stewards of their own health.
Page 3: Marciana Filippone | Gastroenterology