What is a cardiologist?

A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating heart problems. After 4 years of medical school, these doctors have 6 to 8 more years of special training. Some cardiologists work only with adults. Others work only with children.

What do cardiologists do?

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a cardiologist if he or she thinks you might have a heart problem, such as:

  • A heart defect that you were born with
  • Problems with your heart muscle or the valves in your heart
  • A heart rhythm problem
  • Coronary artery disease
  • A heart attack
  • Heart failure

There are different kinds of cardiologists:

  • Some work with diagnostic tests, such as echocardiograms and electrocardiograms.
  • Some do procedures, such as heart catheterization and angioplasty.

Cardiologists are not the same as heart surgeons, but often work closely with surgeons. Surgeons repair or replace heart valves and do bypass surgery. Some do heart transplants. If you need surgery, you will be referred to a heart surgeon.

Your primary care provider and cardiologist will work together to improve your heart health. For example, help you take the right medicines, eat a healthy diet, stop smoking, and exercise safely.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-21
Last reviewed: 2015-01-20
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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