In Conversation with Dr. Duke Pfitzinger of Vascular Center of Naples

Duke Pfitzinger, DO, is a board-certified vascular and endovascular surgeon with Vascular Center of Naples, specializing in a vast array of conditions and treatments. He sees patients facing carotid artery disease, aortic aneurysm disease, aortoiliac occlusive disease, mesenteric artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, hemodialysis access, and venous disease. We chatted about what brought him to Naples, his specialties, and his favorite ways to enjoy a day off.

Your years of education and training had you call a few different places home. What inspired a passion for practicing in Naples? I completed my undergraduate at both University of Kansas and Southern Illinois University, where I graduated with a degree in physiology and minor in chemistry. Then, I went on to medical school at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine before five years of general surgery training at the University of Kansas. I completed my fellowship training in vascular surgery at the University of North Carolina—a total of 11 years post-college of education and training!

My wife and I started coming to Naples in 2014 and fell in love with the area. We had always thought of retiring here, but in a serendipitous turn of fate, I received a job here. During my residency at the University of Kansas, I was operating under a trauma surgeon who grew up in Naples, and he connected me with a general surgeon in the area. During a visit here, I spoke with Dr. Sam Tunkle for a few hours, and we kept in touch as I continued my training. In 2019, I came down for an interview for a hybrid general surgery/vascular surgery position, which transitioned into a full-time vascular position with the Vascular Center of Naples.  

Naples is an amazing place to live with such great people, and you can’t beat the weather. Caitlin and I thought it would be a great place to raise our family as well as grow professionally.  

What sparked your interest in vascular surgery specifically? I always say that vascular is a very unforgiving field that is very challenging and humbling. I love the technical aspects and the ingenuity of the field. Also, the patients that vascular surgeons typically care for are complicated medically. I love that there is an endovascular approach to caring for vascular patients as well as an open surgical approach. This allows me the ability to offer my patients several different options to management.  

What is the most common procedure at your practice? I typically treat a vast array of conditions, including carotid artery disease, aortic aneurysm disease, aortoiliac occlusive disease, mesenteric artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, hemodialysis access, and venous disease. 

Who is your typical patient? Do you see and treat all ages? I treat all patients over the age of 18, but my typical patient is a bit older, given the Naples market. 

Outside of work, what are your passions? Outside of work, my passion is my family, running, and trying to get myself out on the water. I love boating and being outdoors, which is perfect for where we live. Over the past two years, I have become invested in running and participated in a half and full marathon. I hope to continue with more in the near future!

What’s your favorite Naples hidden gem, date night spot, or family-friendly activity? Caitlin and I have been going to Bayside Bar and Grill in Venetian Village for years and absolutely love it. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is incredible! Our family is constantly out and about. Between Cars and Coffee, outdoor activities, holiday parades, school events, flag football, and youth baseball, it is difficult to not have something to do every weekend. 

Learn more about Dr. Pfitzinger and Vascular Center of Naples online, or visit their office at 1875 Veterans Park Drive, Suite 2203, Naples. Get in touch by calling 239.431.5884.