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Career in Cardiology


WHAT IS CARDIOLOGY?

Cardiology is a medical specialty and a branch of internal medicine concerned with disorders of the heart. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of such conditions as congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, electrophysiology, heart failure and valvular heart disease. Subspecialties of the cardiology field include cardiac electrophysiology, echocardiography, interventional cardiology and nuclear cardiology.


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 perform some 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.


WHAT DOES A CARDIOLOGIST DO?

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 perform some procedures, such as heart catheterizations, angioplasty, or inserting a pacemakerCardiologists also perform procedures, such as heart catheterizations, angioplasty (inserting balloons in arteries to clear them), and placing stents to keep arteries open.A cardiologist is a doctor with special training and skill in finding, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Whether the cardiologist sees you in the office or in the hospital, he or she will review your medical history and perform a physical examination that may include checking your blood pressure, weight, heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some problems may be diagnosed by your symptoms and the doctor’s findings when you are examined. You may need additional tests such as an ECG, X-ray, or blood test. Other problems will require more specialized testing. Your cardiologist may recommend lifestyle changes or medicine. Each patient’s case is unique.

Via our patient stories videos, you can experience real-life stories of heart patients, and how they have worked closely with their cardiologists, families and health care team to achieve the best heart health possible.


TYPES OF CARDIOLOGY

1. INVASIVE CARDIOLOGY

Invasive cardiology uses open or minimally-invasive surgery to identify or treat structural or electrical abnormalities within the heart structure.


Common types of invasive cardiology:

· Angioplasty: When plaque clogs your arteries, it becomes difficult for blood to flow normally. Angioplasty inserts a tiny balloon into your clogged vein and pushes plaque against the walls, allowing for increased blood flow.


· Stenting: Stenting is usually done in conjunction with angioplasty. A cardiac stent is a small metal coil which permanently holds a clogged vein open.


2. NON-INVASIVE CARDIOLOGY

Non-invasive cardiology identifies heart problems without using any needles, fluids, or other instruments which are inserted into the body.


Non-invasive cardiologists utilize techniques such as:

· Nuclear cardiology: A non-invasive study of cardiovascular disorders by means of various types of imaging which may use radioactive elements.


· Echocardiography: The usage of ultrasound waves to create images of the heart and surrounding structures in order to identify how well the heart pumps blood, infections, and structural abnormalities.


· Cardiac electrophysiology: Study and testing of the electrical currents which generate heartbeats.


· Stress tests: Stress testing usually involves exercise which is monitored by your cardiologist. These exercises provide your cardiologist information about how your heart performs under physical stress.


· Heart monitors: Heart monitors may also be called a Holter monitor or cardiac event recorder. Heart monitors are essentially tape recorders for your heart’s electrical activity over a set amount of time.


· CT scans: CT scans produce images which your cardiologist can examine for heart disease and atherosclerosis.


Once your specialist has identified risk factors or existing conditions, they may recommend medication and lifestyle changes to improve your heart’s health.


3. INTERVENTIONAL CARDIOLOGY

Interventional cardiology is a non-surgical option which uses a catheter – a small, flexible tube – to repair damaged or weakened vessels, narrowed arteries, or other affected parts of the heart structure.


Common conditions treated by interventional cardiology:

· Coronary artery disease: A narrowing of the arteries which supply the heart muscle with blood and oxygen.


· Heart valve disease: Occurs when the valves which control blood flow into the heart’s chambers are not working correctly.


· Peripheral vascular disease: Your heart can also be affected by clogged or hardened veins and arteries which are in other parts of your body.

KNOWLEDGE AREAS NEED TO ACQUIRED:

1. Confidence-to-knowledge ratio

This is perhaps the most important trait of a good clinician. You need to have a low confidence-to-knowledge ratio, meaning a low to moderate level of confidence in the setting of a large amount of knowledge.

Think about this: The overconfident clinician thinks he or she knows the right diagnosis and treatment (overconfident), but is completely wrong (poor knowledge). This is going to result in great harm to patients.


If a clinician lacks knowledge but also lacks confidence (realizes their knowledge gaps), when encountering a clinical situation that he or she is not sure of, the clinician will ask for help and eventually get the right thing done to take care of the patient.

The ideal situation is the person who has low confidence (frequently asks for help, such as consulting a specialist), but actually has the knowledge to make the right diagnosis and do the correct thing for the patient. So, when a challenging case comes in, this type of clinician makes the right diagnosis and initiates the right treatment plan, but calls in the specialist to confirm the right thing was done and asks for advanced help, such as performing an invasive procedure or surgery.

So, don’t be the cat who sees the lion in the mirror. Ask for help if you are at all unsure about what to do — this will result in the best outcome for the patient


2. Care about your patients

This is crucial to taking good care of patients, but seems so simple. If you entered the medical field to have a stable job with good income, but really don’t have compassion and empathy toward the people you take care of, it will show and be quite obvious.

Health care workers talk all the time and say things like, “He is just in it for the money,” which of course is not a good thing. On the other hand, I frequently hear praises when a clinician shows emotion. Read this article about an ER Doctor who cried over the death of his patient. The respect this doctor has been given for simply showing that he cares about his patients has been tremendous.


3. Keep learning

The practice of medicine at any level (doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc.) is always a challenge. You have to keep up with the latest research and advances. Don’t let all that knowledge that you learned in training fade away.

Make it a habit to routinely review whatever material you need to stay on top of your game. I noticed about 3 years into my clinical practice, many of the details that I learned in fellowship started fading out of my mind. I now make it routine to take a complete cardiology board review course every 2 years and alternate courses for cardiac imaging, as well.


Before you know it, you will find that much of your academic knowledge will be leaking away from your brain and you will fall into the path of the busy practicing clinician that is just barely getting along instead of one who is completely on top of the latest guidelines and treatments in medicine. I challenge you to do more continuing medical education than you are required to do.

WORK VALUES

The following three Core Values will serve as guiding principles for College members and staff in all that they do:

  • Patient-Centered

  • Teamwork and Collaboration

  • Professionalism and Excellence

Each of these Core Values was carefully chosen by the College’s working group of members and staff, then affirmed by the Board of Trustees (BOT). There are a number of ways in which the ACC will work to uphold these values, including but not limited to: advocating on behalf of the cardiovascular patient population (Patient-Centered); encouraging a culture of diversity, trust, respect, and safety with all colleagues, regardless of position or title (Teamwork and Collaboration); and holding ourselves and our profession to the highest standards of evidence and knowledge (Professionalism and Excellence).

CARDIOLOGIST ELIGIBILITY

Aspiring candidate must have done 5½ years MBBS degree followed by 3 years MD and 3-years DM (CARDIOLOGY) to become a Cardiologist.

CARDIOLOGIST SKILLS

  • The cardiologist should be hard-worker, have a dedication and above all aptitude in sciences subjects,particularly in chemistry, biology and physics

  • They should have discipline,patience, commitment to excel and self-confidence to become a Cardiologist.

  • They should possess an organised and professional manner; be sure of your own judgement, and be confident enough to make decisions that could decide the fate of your patients.

  • They should have the ability to work as an individual and as part of a team; excellent communication skills; extensive knowledge of medical practices and leadership qualities.

EDUCATION

Cardiologist (Heart Specialist) is a medical practitioner, an expert in dealing with disorders of the human heart. He is specifically trained medical professional who is able to diagnosis and treats congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure and other related heart diseases.


Unprecedented materialistic development, high expectations and unlimited wants have forced a man to work harder and harder. This has started showing its ill-effect on the human body in the form of sometimes non-existent diseases like Hypertension and Heart failure, two most prominent of them. With overburdened body, sedentary living style, the advent of junk food, and absence of exercise from the routine these diseases are likely to spread faster with the time, thereby increasing the need of expert Cardiologist who can help to cure the patients suffering from heart-related disorders.


Cardiology can be a good option for the aspiring medical practitioner if we go by the present records and expected future requirements of Cardiologist. Young Cardiologists can help to cure ever increasing heart patients as well as make a good career for themselves.

Cardiologist Eligibility

Aspiring candidate must have done 5½ years MBBS degree followed by 3 years MD and 3-years DM (Cardiology) to become a Cardiologist.

Cardiologist Required Skills

  • The cardiologist should be hard-worker, have a dedication and above all aptitude in sciences subjects, particularly in chemistry, biology and physics

  • They should have discipline,patience, commitment to excel and self-confidence to become a Cardiologist.

  • They should possess an organised and professional manner; be sure of your own judgement, and be confident enough to make decisions that could decide the fate of your patients.

  • They should have the ability to work as an individual and as part of a team; excellent communication skills; extensive knowledge of medical practices and leadership qualities.

How to become a Cardiologist?

Interested candidates have to follow the given steps to become a Cardiologist:

Step 1 Candidates who have appeared or are appearing in +2 (with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as main subjects) have to appear in Medical Entrance Exams conducted NTA and various reputed medical institutes like NEET UG and AIIMS MBBS Entrance Exam to admit candidates in various medical institutions affiliated with it. These exams are generally held in the month of May-June.


Step 2 After completing this four and half years of MBBS degree course and one year and six months compulsory training one has to go for a Master’s Degree in Cardiology - a specialization - must work as a Cardiologist.

Aspiring MBBS doctors have to appear in Post Graduate Medical Entrance Tests like

However, some institutes also provide admission on the basis of marks obtained in the MBBS course and work experience of the aspiring candidates.


Step 3 After the completion of this two to three years of Master Degree in Cardiology course and getting the requisite registration from Medical Council of India, the budding Cardiologist can take different career paths open to Cardiologist like getting jobs in Government Hospitals like AIIMS, Corporate Hospitals like Fortis, Apollo. The cardiologist can also opt for their own heart care centre.

JOB OUTCOME

Cardiologist’s job description includes diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions related to the cardiovascular system of a human being. This includes problems caused by restricted circulation due to narrowing of the arteries, problems in the heart valves, damage to the muscle tissue, and disorders of the pericardium. Cardiologists are supposed to address emergency situations like heart attacks besides treating congenital heart problems. If the patient needs heart surgery, the Cardiologist would make a reference to a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Cardiology is a demanding speciality, but if you have the dedication and perseverance to succeed, you will receive enormous satisfaction in being a Cardiologist.

CARDIOLOGIST SALARY

The cardiologist can expect to get an average monthly salary of Rs.1.5 Lakh in the private sector and if they are working in the government hospitals it can be anywhere between Rs.80,000 to Rs.1,00,000 compensated by free accommodation, perks and respect enjoyed by them. However, there is no upper limit for those efficient Cardiologists who are managing their own heart care centres.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF CARDIOLOGIST

1. Examine patients and assess their condition

2. Explain the risks of prohibited activities to patients

3. Give health advice to patients

4. Write proper prescriptions to treat chronic cardiovascular diseases

5. Diagnose and evaluate patients with heart-related conditions

6. Perform surgical procedures on patients with heart-related conditions

7. Measure and track the improvement of patients' health

8. Oversee and educate student residents

9. Command laboratory research

10. Ensure adherence to relevant laws and regulations

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS SOME GOOD ADVICE FOR CARDIOLOGY?

1. Set exercise goals

Dr. Haythe loves to run, and says that setting goals for herself, like signing up for a half or full marathon, helps her to stick with a regular exercise schedule. “Doing at least 45 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise four to five times a week is a part of my life

2. Stick to a Mediterranean-style diet

The word “restrictive” isn’t part of Dr. Haythe’s eating vocabulary. Instead, she says, she uses common sense to guide her plant- and fish-based diet, limiting red meat to once every two weeks and relying on olive oil, fish, chicken, legumes, fruit, and nuts as staples. (Hello there, Mediterranean diet!) “It’s okay to have fries and pizza now and then—just make them delicious ones!” she added. Take it from a heart doc—you have to live a little.


3. Prioritize healthy sleep habits

Dr. Haythe says she aims for about seven hours of sleep each night, “even though it’s not always possible.” This makes sense, given that a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows that too little—and too much—sleep can lead to a higher risk of a heart attack in adults. According to the study, people who slept less than six hours of sleep per night had had a 20 percent higher risk of a heart attack; on the other hand, people who stayed in bed for more than nine hours per night were at a 34 percent higher risk.


4.Try meditation

Dr. Haythe doesn’t consider herself a meditation pro, but she said she relies on the Calm app on her phone to try and score 20 minutes of focused relaxation time every day. “Meditation slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, which are both great for the heart,” she says. If sitting on a cushion just isn’t your thing, there are other, more active forms of meditation you can try, like cooking, walking, or just taking a long bath.

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A CARDIOLOGIST?

You will work long and unconventional hours as a cardiologist, and you'll often be on call. Bearer of bad news: You will frequently have to deliver bad news to patients and their families. It can be emotionally draining. Malpractice: Even doing your job perfectly—and who does any job perfectly?

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO BE A CARDIOLOGIST?

Becoming a cardiologist involves many years of schooling. ... Most doctors complete a three-year internal medicine residency, followed by a fellowship in cardiology, which may be three or four years. It might seem like a long road to becoming a cardiologist, but it's a challenge that is often worth the hard work

IS CARDIOLOGY AN ART OR SCIENCE

Dr. Julia Grapsa is a consultant cardiologist and an honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College of London. She is also chair of the young community of imaging, in the European Society of Cardiology. She recently organised “Cardio MEDICINE 2016: A Field of Science – Art & Economics” in Athens – Greece, the first conference that included distinguished speakers from the fields of Science, Cardiology and Arts. In an exclusive interview, she talks with Vasia Hatzi (founder of MEDinART) about the conference and the relationship between cardiology and art.

IS IT WORTH BECOMING A CARDIOLOGIST?

Becoming a cardiologist involves many years of schooling. ... Most doctors complete a three-year internal medicine residency, followed by a fellowship in cardiology, which may be three or four years. It might seem like a long road to becoming a cardiologist, but it's a challenge that is often worth the hard work

WHAT ARE THE BEST COLLEGES OFFERING CARDIOLOGY?

Harvard.

· Johns Hopkins University.

· New York University (Langone)

· Stanford University.

· University of California-San Francisco.

· Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

· University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)

· University of California-Los Angeles.

YOUTUBE LINKS FOR FURTHER REFERENCE


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