Explore The Different Sub-Specialities In Cardiology

February 17, 2015

Cardiology focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders of the cardiovascular or circulatory system, which includes the heart, arteries and veins. The field is divided into two distinct specialisations – invasive and non-invasive.

In the middle of complex surgery! Professionals who specialise in invasive cardiology are skilled in performing several different procedures including but not limited to cardiac ablation, routine heart catheterisation, implantable defibrillator insertions, permanent pacemaker insertions, electrophysiology studies and emergent angioplasty.

Non-invasive cardiology practitioners focus on the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. They help make a difference in the lives of patients and families by leading them through testing, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Cardiologist Subspecialties

While there are several distinct sub-specialties within cardiology, it is important to know that the boundaries are not fixed. In practice, most cardiologists use a combination of two or more types in order to provide their patients with comprehensive care. 

  • General Clinical Cardiologist 

General clinical cardiologists focus on the diagnosis, prevention and medical management of cardiovascular disease. They are actively involved in the long-term care of patients with cardiovascular disease and are skilled at selecting appropriate medications for treating a wide range of cardiovascular conditions. While general clinical cardiologists are not trained to interpret more complex diagnostic tests such as cardiac MRI studies or to perform interventional procedures, they undergo training to interpret electrocardiograms, exercise stress tests and Holter monitors.   

  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Cardiothoracic surgeons operate on patients with conditions affecting the heart and lungs.

  • Echocardiologist

Echocardiologists focus on the performance and interpretation of cardiac ultrasound procedures.

  • Electrophysiologist

Electrophysiologists diagnose, treat and manage cardiac arrhythmias using sophisticated high-technology invasive procedures. These professionals are skilled implanting antiarrhythmia devices such as pace makers and defibrillators.

  • Interventional cardiologist

Interventional cardiologists perform interventional procedures such as balloon angioplasty and are skilled in the use of various cutting and laser devices to remove plaque buildup from arteries.

  • Adult Congenital Cardiologist 

Adult Congenital Cardiologists undergo highly specialised training in congenital heart disease in patients over 18 years of age. These professionals may limit their practice to non-invasive diagnosis and medical treatment or they may undergo trained perform a variety of invasive diagnostic and interventional therapeutic techniques.

  • Nuclear cardiologist

Nuclear cardiologists assess the degree of damage to the heart and the presence of blockages in coronary arteries and using injected radiotracer agents. They work with other cardiologists as well as non-cardiologists to decide which nuclear cardiology techniques are likely to provide the most useful information in a specific clinical situation.

  • Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist 

Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologists undergo advanced training and expertise that qualifies them to treat patients with advanced or refractory heart failure.

  • Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging Cardiologist 

A Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging Cardiologist focuses on the non-invasive diagnosis and clinical management of cardiovascular disease using highly specialised techniques such as magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT). While cardiac CT and MR studies may be performed and interpreted by radiologists in most healthcare facilities, there is a growing trend toward a more active collaboration between cardiologists and radiologists.

  • Preventive Cardiologist 

The Preventive Cardiologist is a general clinical cardiologist with special interest and training in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. While all cardiology specialists will know the basics of preventive cardiology, preventive cardiologists have a more in-depth understanding of the interplay of known and emerging risk factors.