Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders of the heart; it is a medical specialty which is involved in the care of all things associated with the heart and the arteries.

A cardiologist is not the same as a cardiac surgeon – the cardiac surgeon opens the chest and performs heart surgery, a cardiologist, on the other hand, carries out tests and procedures, such as angioplasty.

Heart disease differs from cardiovascular disease, in that the latter refers to disorders and illnesses of the heart and blood vessels, while the former is only concerned with the heart.

Cardiology has several subspecialties

  • Nuclear Cardiology – using nuclear imaging techniques in the non-invasive study of cardiovascular disorders and diseases, including infarction imaging, SPECT (single-photon-emission computed tomography), planar imaging, and myocardial perfusion imaging. The nuclear cardiologist uses radioactive materials.
  • Interventional Cardiology – involves the use of intravascular catheter-based techniques with fluoroscopy to treat congenital cardiac, valvular and coronary artery diseases.Interventional cardiologists may perform angioplasties, valvuloplasties, congenital heart defect corrections, and coronary thrombectomies.
  • Echocardiography – the use of ultrasound waves to create images of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding structures. Echocardiography can measure how well the heart is pumping blood (cardiac output), as well as determining levels ofinflammation around the heart (pericarditis). Echocardiography can also be used to identify structural abnormalities or infections of the heart valves.
  • Cardiac electrophysiology – the study of the mechanism, spread, and interpretation of the electric currents which occur inside heart muscle tissue – the system that generates the heart beat.

What Questions Should I Ask My Cardiologist?

There are basic questions to remember to ask, in addition to whatever questions are on your mind. For instance, if you have had a coronary angiogram, you may ask to see the pictures of your heart and have your cardiologist explain what they mean.

Your heart and health are, of course, vitally important to you and to us here at Panacea