Specialists and Your Health Care
Cardiology, or the discipline of medicine that specializes in heart disease, is a complex and sophisticated field. Generally, three types of cardiology specialists care for your heart. A cardiologist has special training and skill in finding, treating, and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels in adults.
After 5 1/2 years of medical school, these highly-trained doctors spend from six to eight more years in specialized training. A cardiologist receives three years of training in internal medicine and three or more years in specialized cardiology training. A pediatric cardiologist receives three years of training in pediatrics, and three or more years in specialized pediatric diology training. A cardiac surgeon must complete three years of training in general surgery before starting a two-or three-year cardiothoracic training program. Some cardiac surgeons have additional training to perform pediatric or transplant surgery.
At each stage of their training, these specialists must pass rigorous exams that test their knowledge and judgment, as well as their ability to provide superior care. Cardiologists, pediatric cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons must first become board-certified in their primary specialty (internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery respectively), and then certified in their subspecialty (cardiology, pediatric cardiology, and cardiothoracic surgery respectively).
in the American College of Cardiology
If your cardiology specialist adds F.A.C.C. - Fellow of the American College of Cardiology - to his or her name, it is a sign of significant accomplishment and commitment to a profession, to a specialty, and to the provision of the best health care for the patient. Election to ACC membership is based on training, specialty board certification, scientific and professional accomplishments, length of active participation in a cardiovascular-related field, and peer recognition. Members are expected to conform to high moral and ethical standards.
to a Cardiologist
Any time you have a significant heart or related condition, you may require the attention of a cardiologist. Symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pains, or dizzy spells often require special testing. Heart murmurs or ECG changes are best evaluated by a cardiologist. Most importantly, cardiologists treat heart attacks, heart failure, and serious heart rhythm disturbances. Their skills and training are required for decisions about heart catheterization, balloon angioplasty, heart surgery, and other procedures.
Cardiologist and your Primary Care Physician
The cardiologist usually serves as a consultant to other doctors, although many provide general medical care for their patients. Your primary care physician may recommend a cardiologist or you may choose one yourself. As your cardiac care proceeds, your cardiologist will guide your care and plan tests and treatment with the doctors and nurses who are looking after you.