Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in treating illnesses and conditions of the cardiovascular system: the heart, blood vessels and veins. If your primary care physician detects a potential cardiovascular problem, you may be referred to a cardiologist for more detailed diagnosis and treatment. A cardiologist will then perform tests to determine if any problems exist with your heart, arteries and veins and devise a treatment plan.
Swedish cardiologists provide comprehensive clinical services in coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, neurovascular disease, arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy and congenital heart disease. At Swedish, patients have access to the latest interventional technologies, which include:
- Comprehensive heart failure management
- Coronary artery intervention, including stents
- Carotid artery angiography and stenting
- Percutaneous valve repair/replacement
- Percutaneous abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
- Percutaneous patent foramen ovale/atrial septal defect repair
- Percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion device in atrial fibrillation patients
- Percutaneous treatment of coronary/peripheral chronic total occlusions
- Cardiovascular risk factor management and prevention
- Implantation and management of pacemakers, defibrillator (ICDs) and resynchronization (CRT) devices
- Electrophysiology studies
- Catheter ablation of all arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia
- Device extraction
Types of Cardiology Providers
Cardiologists examine patients and order tests to diagnose, treat and prevent heart problems. Results of the tests and exams determine whether you can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.
Some cardiologists can perform minor operations but are limited in the types of procedures they can perform. If surgery is needed, or if a problem is found that requires more specialized treatment, you will be referred to an interventional cardiologist, an electrophysiology cardiologist, or another doctor.
Interventional cardiologists undergo one to three years of additional training after the three-year residency, and can perform more advanced surgeries. These include valve repairs, atheroectomy (plaque removal), balloon angioplasty and mesh stent placement to relieve blockages.
An electrophysiology cardiologist specializes in the electrical stimulus to the heart. They look for irregular heartbeats and other problems that could cause cardiac arrest. They perform tests such as an echocardiogram, a painless, non-invasive test that uses sound waves to view an image of the heart. Electrophysiology cardiologists perform surgeries to install pacemakers and defibrillators and prescribe drug therapies, among other treatments, to reduce the incidence of heart failure.