Cardiologists are doctors who diagnose, assess and treat patients with diseases and defects of the heart and blood vessels (the cardiovascular system).
Nature of the work
Cardiologists work with adult patients – paediatric cardiology is a separate specialty.
Cardiologists manage patients with conditions such as:
Angina (chest pain caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries)
Arrhythmias, eg atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
Heart murmurs due to heart valve disease
Cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) with heart failure including pulmonary
Oedema (accumulation of fluid)
Coronary artery thrombosis or myocardial infarction (heart attack) often associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
Diseases of the arteries (atherosclerosis, arteritis, atheroma)
Hole in the heart and other forms of congenital heart disease within adult life including transition from paediatric care and shared care of pregnant women with heart disease
The CCT sub-specialty is:
Most cardiologists develop sub-specialty interests such as:
Adult congenital heart disease
Electrophysiology including ablation
Electrical device therapy
Heart failure including cardiac transplantation and support devices
Symptoms that can indicate a heart problem include:
Shortness of breath
Changes in heart rate or rhythm
High blood pressure
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.