A cardiologist is a specialized doctor, who diagnoses and treats health conditions of the heart, arteries and veins which are collectively known as the cardiovascular system. Cardiology is a medical field which involves the treatment of the cardiovascular system and becoming a professional in this demanding area takes perseverance and dedication alongside internships, training and supervised direct patient contact.
In India, professionals who complete the required education as well as the residency program in addition with three years of clinical training, patient care and passing the specialized cardiology examination are considered to be board certified in cardiology. Many cardiologists stick to this level and practice thereon, while others choose to augment their educational qualifications by focusing on interventional cardiology, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and electrophysiology.
As specialized doctors, cardiologists normally take referrals from other specialists or family and general practitioners. They may practice in private or public clinics and hospitals and often provide services as part of a patient treatment team. They are knowledgeable and possess immense experience in diagnostic tests such as X-Ray, MRI, assessing for transplants, electrocardiogram (ECG), and blood and tissue samples. Additionally, cardiologists may need stress testing on heart and cardiovascular system to develop a preventive plan or a treatment for patients suffering from heart conditions or potential for developing heart conditions such as irregular heartbeat, congenital heart defects, weak heart muscles, heart valve problems, heart infections, rheumatic heart disease, inflammatory heart disease and cardiovascular disorders.
Cardiologists may also be required to perform various invasive and non-invasive procedures like coronary angioplasty, heart catheterizations, echocardiography, insertion and monitoring of temporary or permanent pacemakers, coronary angiography and care and management of cardiac surgery patients pre and post surgery. Some cardiologists may be cardiac surgeons, while others concentrate on care of chronic heart disease and conditions.
Typically most patients who seek the services of a cardiologist already have some sort of diagnosis or significant signs of heart disease or cardiovascular health problems. When you first walk-in for a consultation, you will normally provide an in-depth medical history. In addition, a cardiologist will take time to explain his/her role on the treatment team as well as the results of any tests that have been previously completed.
Having questions prepared in advance of your first and subsequent appointments will help ensure you get the required information. Queries about procedures, risks, benefits and options are all important, as is the possibility of a second opinion. Knowing the expected recovery time for the procedure as well as any complications or post-procedure risks is also important in making an informed decision. Your cardiologist may guide you towards accurate online sources for information on your health condition, treatment options and important considerations.
While choosing a cardiologist, it is important to check the credentials, certificates and educational degrees. There are several online health portals which offer to book online appointments with qualified cardiologists for free.