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Cardiology

The branch of medicine that deals with diseases and abnormalities of the heart, the study of the heart and its functions in health and disease.

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Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders of the heart and the blood vessels. A person with heart disease or cardiovascular disease may be referred to a cardiologist.

Cardiology is a branch of internal medicine. A cardiologist is not the same as a cardiac surgeon. A cardiac surgeon opens the chest and performs heart surgery.

A cardiologist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the cardiovascular system. The cardiologist will carry out tests, and they may some do procedures, such as heart catheterizations, angioplasty, or inserting a pacemaker

Heart Disease relates specifically to the heart, while cardiovascular disease affects the heart, the blood vessels, or both.

When would I need a cardiologist?

Cardiology deals with heart health.If a person has symptoms of a heart condition, their physician may refer them to a cardiologist.

Symptoms that can indicate a heart problem include

01

Shortness of breath

02

Dizziness

03

Chest pains

04

Changes in heart rate or rhythm

05

High blood pressure

A cardiologist can carry out tests for a heart murmur or an abnormal heart rhythm.

They often treat patients who have had a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problems. They help make decisions about heart surgery, heart catheterization, and angioplasty and stenting.

Heart diseases that a cardiologist can help with include:

01

atherosclerosis

02

atrial fibrillation

03

Arrhythmias

04

Congenital heart disease

05

Coronary heart disease

06

Congestive heart disease

07

High blood cholesterol and triglycerides

08

Hypertension

09

Pericarditis

10

Ventricular tachycardia

11

High blood pressure, or hypertension

The cardiologist can give advice about preventing heart disease.

A person may need to see a cardiologist even without symptoms, if they have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, if they are or have been a smoker, if they have diabetes, or if they are starting a new exercise program.

A woman who has had pre-eclampsia may be at higher risk of heart problems in a later pregnancy or during the menopause

What does cardiology involve?

A cardiologist will review a patient's medical history and carry out a physical examination.

They may check the person's weight, heart, lungs, blood pressure, and blood vessels, and carry out some tests.

An interventional cardiologist may carry out procedures such as angioplasties, stenting, valvuloplasties, congenital heart defect corrections, and coronary thrombectomies.

Tests

May also carry out or order tests as listed below:

The equipment in a cath lab allows the doctor to see the state of the heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This records the electrical activity of the heart.

Ambulatory ECG: This records heart rhythms while the person carries out exercise or their regular activities. Small metal electrodes are stuck on to the chest, and these are connected by wires to a Holter monitor, which records the rhythms.

An exercise test, or stress test: this shows the changes of heart rhythm when resting and exercising. It measures the performance and limitations of the heart

2D- Echocardiogram: This provides an ultrasound picture that shows the structure of the heart chambers and surrounding areas, and it can show how well the heart is working. Echocardiography can measure how well the heart is pumping blood, known as cardiac output. It can detect inflammation around the heart, known as pericarditis. It can also identify structural abnormalities or infections of the heart valves.

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