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Medicine That Works for Regular Folks

    A two dimensional shadow,
    his bendy straw, and his heart


    Medical Students:
    Thinking about making cardiology your medical speciality?

    • How much do Cardiologists make per year? It depends - some of the highest paid cardiologists make more than $700,000 per year, others make in the $400,000 range, etc.
    • What's it like to be a be a medical specialist in cardiology? The residence is longer, and the work is more stressful. That's the reason some give for the higher pay rate.



Cardiologists: Medical Specialist
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, medical professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

Medicine is specialized. One medical specialist is the cardiologist.

Patients: The word cardiologist means "one who studies the heart."

Physicians and surgeons serve a fundamental role in our society and have an effect upon all our lives. They diagnose illnesses and prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. Physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.

Physicians work in one or more of several specialties, including, but not limited to, anesthesiology, family and general medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. A number of other medical specialists, including allergists, cardiologists, dermatologists, emergency physicians, gastroenterologists, pathologists, and radiologists, also work in clinics, hospitals, and private offices.

Cardiologists, Medical Specialists and Your Health Care

Cardiology, or the discipline of medicine that specializes in heart disease, is a complex and sophisticated field. Three types of cardiologist medical specialists care for your heart.

  • A cardiologist is a medical specialist in finding, treating, and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels in adults.
  • A pediatric cardiologist is a medical specialist in in finding, treating, and preventing heart and blood vessel disease in infants, children, and teenagers. In some cases, the pediatric cardiologist begins diagnosis and treatment in the fetus and continues into adulthood.
  • A cardiac surgeon is a medical specialist with special training and skills to perform delicate operations on the heart, blood vessels, and lungs.

The Training of Cardiologists: Medical Specialists Studying the Heart

After four years of medical school, cardiologists 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 cardiology training. A cardiac surgeon must complete five 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, cardiac medical 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).

Referral to Cardiologists: Medical Specialists You Can Go See

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.

Diagnostic tests which may be necessary, and which your cardiologist may order

Your cardiologist will review your medical history and perform a physical examination which may include checking your blood pressure, weight, heart, lungs, and blood vessels. While some problems may be diagnosed from this examination, your cardiologist may order an ECG, X-ray, or blood tests. In addition, an ambulatory ECG, echocardiogram, exercise test, heart catheterization and/or nuclear imaging may be required.

The Cardiologist: A Medical Specialist working with 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.

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor