University of South Florida

Faculty Spotlight: Arthur Labovitz, MD

Since joining the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in 2011, Dr. Arthur Labovitz has been committed to raising the quality of cardiovascular care in the Tampa Bay region and beyond through leading-edge research.

Dr. Labovitz, Edward C. Wright Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, co-directs the USF Health Heart Institute with Stephen B. Liggett, MD, vice dean for research at the college.

Recent investigator-initiated studies Dr. Labovitz helped bring to USF are just one example of his ongoing dedication to applying the science of cardiology to improve patient care.

In October he was awarded a $2.2 million grant by Bristol Myers Squibb to compare the effectiveness of a new rapid-onset anticoagulant medication known as Apixaban with the standard anticoagulant drug warfarin in stroke patients with atrial fibrillation. Anticoagulant therapy lowers the risk of strokes caused by embolisms (blood clots) in patients with atrial fibrillation, but its use is associated with potentially deadly bleeding. The new randomized trial will evaluate whether early treatment with Apixaban, an alternative requiring less monitoring and re-dosing than warfarin, can prevent recurrent strokes and reduce the risk of brain bleeding in patients who have suffered a first embolic stroke.


Dr. Arthur Labovitz

This summer, USF Health launched its first genomics trial with Dr. Labovitz as the principal investigator. Researchers will link the analysis of genetic information and medical histories of 1,000 consenting USF cardiology patients with the risk of developing various types of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The database developed here may ultimately help advance personalized medicine — identifying optimal treatments based on an individual’s genetic makeup, and, equally important, sparing a patient from the trial and error of treatments that are unlikely to work, or may even cause harmful side effects.

While much evidence-based work remains to be done in cardiovascular medicine, Dr. Labovitz says he is encouraged by the research beginning to improve heart disease survival rates. “The statistics are wonderful to see. The death rate from heart disease in the United States has decreased 10 percent,” he said in a recent interview appearing in the blog Tampa Bay Heart. “We are making incredible strides with advances in cardiovascular prevention and treatment.”

Before joining USF Health, Dr. Labovitz was director of cardiology and led the cardiovascular fellowship programs at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo. Recognized as a leader in the field, he is a past president of the National Board of Echocardiography and a board member of the American Heart Association. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE), and as an editorial consultant for numerous others, including the New England Journal of Medicine. He has published more than 300 scientific articles and book chapters.

His areas of expertise include cardiovascular imaging, valvular heart disease, atrial fibrillation and anti-thrombotics, diastolic heart failure, transesophageal echocardiography and stroke.

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