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Studies & Degrees in Cardiology

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The study of the care of all things in relation to the heart and the cardiovascular system in general is called Cardiology. Unlike Cardiac Surgeons who perform operations, Cardiologists are responsible for performing procedures and tests that concern the heart.

This discipline delves into researches, diagnoses and treatments for various heart diseases as well as their origins. A cardiologist is not only expected to treat your heart conditions, they are also expected to keep track of your other conditions as well such as increase in blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes and other contributing factors that increases the risk of heart damage. These risk factors include sedentary lifestyle, hereditary conditions, obesity, cigarette smoking, and poor eating habits.

Heart matters should not be left in the hands of a regular or general healthcare provider. We should entrust our special matters to the field of medicine that specializes in certain types of conditions and the organs involved. Cardiologists will be able to remedy minor conditions and can refer you to other specialist if the need arises.

Specialists can notify your doctor about certain beneficial drugs that work well with you, or refer you to other specialists in case your symptoms are more severe than expected. Regular physicians also seek the consult of cardiology specialists in order to identify the best course of action for your health situation. Cardiologists often request for an EKG or blood test in order to study the causes.

Observations on the heart’s anatomy and physiology were first discovered by William Harvey in 1902. This became the main foundation of cardiology in the year 1628. Physicians began broadening their understanding of this field in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was Jean Baptiste de Sénac’s publication on the contemporary wisdom of the heart in 1749 that contributed to the study of Cardiology. It was during the 19th century that diagnostic methods showed improvements and in 1905, the invention of the ECG or the electrocardiograph machine, measured the electrical activity of the heart. And it was in the 1950s when Echocardiography, was made possible by ultrasonic waves that showed the images of the heart through the chest wall. Heart transplant was one of the many surgical advances in cardiology in the 20th century.

There are a number of organizations that devote to increase awareness in keeping the heart healthy such as the American Heart Association that has made it their obligation to help the public fight the battle against heart illnesses and stroke. Their center of attention is on the definite causes intended to lend a hand to people in attaining a “hearty” lifestyle. Through their assistance, people are encouraged to take preventive measures and provide them with the necessary supporting materials in helping them make a positive action towards their cause.

Job positions for Cardiology:

Pediatric Cardiologists

Do you know that not all people who suffer from heart diseases are due to smoking or live a sedentary lifestyle for that matter? Most often, we associate the occurrence of heart diseases with vices and poor eating and health habits that we sometimes forget that others experience it even before the onset of their first birthday! The onset of the diseases of the heart is not only exclusive for adults because even adolescents, toddlers and fetuses inside the womb suffer from heart diseases.

It is the job of a Pediatric Cardiologist to take care of such illnesses. There are two types of heart conditions that are commonly observed in children and these are: congenital heart disease and acquired heart disease.

It is the responsibility of the Pediatric Cardiologist to identify the presence of a heart illness in a fetus through the use of an echocardiogram to acquire an ultrasound illustration of the heart. The fetal echocardiogram can present data that aids in evaluating the structure, action and arrhythmias of the baby’s heart. Once a nurse, midwife or obstetrician discovers a risk in the expectant mother’s condition, he or she then refers her to a Pediatric Cardiologist.
Conditions such as children experiencing heart murmurs, irregular heartbeats, palpitations or fainting spells are all referred to a Pediatric Cardiologist. It is now in the hands of the Pediatric Cardiologist to conduct an EKG test and an echocardiogram to see an ultrasound illustration of the heart. Sometimes, a Pediatric Cardiologist might feel the need to monitor a patient’s heart within a 24-hour period.

Hypertensions, heart damage because of infections or viruses, and irregular heart rhythms or endocarditis are all heart diseases in children that are acquired and may develop in any stage of growth and development. They need the expertise of a Pediatric Cardiologist so that tests, evaluation and recommendations for the best treatment plan can be initiated. It is also the work of the Pediatric Cardiologist to know the family medical history, past medical history of the patient and his or her lifestyle patterns. The major focus of the physician is to prevent the occurrence or the progress of any heart condition.
Medical attention is required for babies, children and adolescents who are experiencing the first signs and symptoms of a heart disease because this is a serious matter. The decisions regarding heart catheterization and heart surgery procedures can also be decided by the Pediatric Cardiologist as well as screen increased cholesterol levels.

It is the job of a Pediatric Cardiologist to direct the care and treatment plans with other physicians and nurses who will also be taking care of the child. Everybody works as a team.

Cardiac Electro-Physiologist

To become an Electro-Physiologist, a cardiologists must first finish four years of medical school, three years of training as a resident and then proceed to his or her preferred cardiology fellowship which takes two to three years depending on the kind of fellowship selected. Cardiac Electrophysiology takes an additional of one to two years to complete. This area deals with the study of the bio-electrical impulses of the heart responsible for controlling the rate of a person’s heartbeat. Malfunction of the electrical impulses causes an arrhythmia which, if left untreated, can be very serious and deadly.

It is also the responsibility of the Cardiac Electro-Physiologist to insert a pacemaker to correct the heart’s irregularities although today, there are a variety of cardiac procedures available as well as drug therapies that controls the complexities of arrhythmias.
It is the responsibility of the Cardiac Electro-Physiologist to measure the reaction or cardiomyopathic myocardium to PES on particular pharmacological treatments in order to evaluate the probability of success of the given therapy to avoid impending fatal sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation in the future. Electro-Physiologist must oftentimes perform a series of EPS drug trials in order to identify the best treatment for long-term therapy. It is also the responsibility to perform such studies in the existence of a newly-implanted cardiac pacemaker.

In diagnostic testing, an electrophysiologist is expected to interpret holter and loop recording; tilt table testing; T-wave alternant testing; Signal-averaged electrocardiogram; as well as catheter ablation procedures; and pacemaker and defibrillator implantation.
This sub-discipline of cardiology and internal medicine is comparatively young with developments arising during the mid-1970s by Mark E. Josephson from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

An international society of basic and clinical scientists and doctors known as the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society is concerned with cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias. This society was founded during the 1940s by George Buch in Atlantic City holding meetings at the Haddon Hall. The multipolar nature of cardiac events and the importance of having multiple lead systems were discussed thoroughly during the 1950s which later on changed to Cardiac Physiology. Members are expected to meet at least once every year to discuss the latest in research developments presented by the leading experts in the area.
Gordon K. Moe is the featured speaker every year to lead the gathering. The group also offers career opportunities for all the applicants who are specifically-inclined to the study of cardiology, especially in the sub-discipline of electrophysiology.