- Cardiology is the branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of disorders of the cardiovascular system, specifically the heart, veins and arteries.
- Considered as a sub-specialty in internal medicine, it focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular conditions that range from congenital defects to heart diseases including congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.
- Meanwhile, cardiologists are physicians who specialize in cardiology and are responsible for the medical management of various heart diseases.
- They carry out and interpret diagnostic tests and perform interventional procedures including angioplasty. They are different from cardiac surgeons who perform invasive procedures such as chest and heart surgery.
Subspecialties in Cardiology
- Nuclear Cardiology – this focuses on properly diagnosing cardiovascular diseases using infarction imaging, planar imaging, myocardial perfusion imaging and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography).
- Interventional Cardiology – the study that involves the use of intravascular catheter-based techniques in treating coronary artery disease, congenital cardiac and valvular conditions. Interventional cardiologists perform congenital heart defect corrections, valvuloplasties, coronary thrombectomy and angioplasties.
- Echocardiography – this involves the use of machines equipped with ultrasound technology to create images of the heart chambers, valves and nearby structures. Echocardiography is used in identifying infections and structural abnormalities of the heart valves.
- Cardiac Electrophysiology – this involves the study of the mechanism of electric currents occurring in the heart muscles to determine heart health. Electrophysiology tests measure electrical signals in the heart and diagnose abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and accelerated heart beat (tachycardia).
Procedures in Cardiology
- Blood Tests – to rule out other health conditions or diseases
- Echocardiogram – a test to visualize the structure and function of the heart
- Stress test – to measure the performance of the heart and its limitations
- Ambulatory ECG – to check for abnormal heart rhythms
- Cardiac Catheterization – A test wherein a small tube is placed near the heart to record electrical impulses
- Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – determines abnormalities in the mechanical functions of the heart
- Holter monitoring – a portable ECG machine to continuously monitor heart function for a specified period
- Electrocardiography – to measure the electrical activity of the heart
- Cardiac Ablation – Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
- Electrophysiology Studies(EPS) – An electrophysiology (EP) study is a test used to understand and map the electrical activity within your heart.
- Heart Surgery – Cardiovascular surgery or cardiac surgery is popularly known as heart surgery. Heart surgery is recommended to patients who suffer from cardiac disorders, such as faulty valves, hole in the heart, and weakening of the cardiac walls.