Cardiology is a vast branch of internal medicine that encompasses various subspecialties. As such, it can be quite difficult, especially for a person with no medical background, to know which type of cardiologist to see for a specific type of intervention.
For instance, if you need heart surgery, you may wonder if all cardiologists perform it and, if not, which one you should see. To help you figure it out, here is a breakdown of the three main types of cardiologists and what they do.
This is the specialist that your primary care physician (PCP) will refer you to if they think that you need advanced care for your heart problem.
General cardiologists perform physical exams and order tests (e.g., electrocardiograms, stress tests, chest X-rays, etc.) to evaluate the condition of the heart and its blood vessels and provide an accurate diagnosis.
In addition to diagnosing heart problems, general cardiologists work with patients who are not experiencing any symptoms of heart disease but have a risk factor (e.g., family history) for it. General cardiologists order the necessary screenings to assess patients’ cardiovascular health and determine the appropriate measures to lower their risk for or prevent the onset of heart disease. They may then give recommendations for dietary and lifestyle modifications (e.g., smoking cessation, regular physical activity, etc.), weight management as well as blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring.
For people with existing heart problems, general cardiologists prescribe medications and provide important recommendations to help them manage their condition and maintain their quality of life.
This type of cardiologist specializes in assessing and treating heart conditions using nonoperative but catheter-based procedures, in which they place a short, wire-mesh tube (stent) to repair a damaged heart valve, keep a blocked artery open, among other purposes.
Interventional cardiologists are the go-to for patients who don’t prefer to or who can’t undergo open-heart surgery due to a general health problem.
A cardiac surgeon has advanced education and training in routine and highly complex heart surgeries aimed at saving lives and improving patients’ quality of life.
Cardiac surgeons are the specialists whom patients get referred to when lifestyle changes, medications, and other nonoperative treatments are not helping their heart condition. This type of heart specialist is also the go-to for people who have congenital heart defects (heart abnormalities that they were born with) for which conservative treatment and catheter-based intervention may not be appropriate.
After making a referral, your general cardiologist will coordinate your care with your cardiac surgeon to ensure efficient management of your condition.
Cardiologists in West Orange, New Jersey
At Hudson MD Group, our highly qualified cardiologists constantly strive to stay true to their mission – to provide comprehensive, individualized, and compassionate care for patients with heart disease and those concerned about their cardiovascular health.
We perform a wide range of diagnostic tests on site, so you can have most – if not, all – of your healthcare needs taken care of in one location. If we determine that surgery is necessary for your condition, we will gladly coordinate your care with a cardiac surgeon to ensure you receive efficient and timely intervention.
For any questions about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists, call our office today at (973) 705-4914 or use our convenient online form to send us a message.