According to the C.D.C.’s latest studies, around 42% of the US population is considered to be obese. Unfortunately, some of the leading causes of preventable death is the US are conditions directly related to obesity. When these conditions begin affecting your heart, the blood factory of your body, it can be difficult to figure out what type of doctor you should consult with. Of course, your general practitioner can give you great advice and treatments. However, if you develop any serious symptoms of heart disease, such as atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, or valve disease, you should see a specialist to develop your best course of action. But what type of specialist should you see? What would be the best cardiologist for you and your specific needs? Would a standard cardiologist be your best bet, or should you schedule an appointment with an interventional cardiologist? It may get confusing, so let’s break it down.

First, both standard cardiologists and interventional cardiologists treat patients that have been diagnosed with issues relating to the heart and cardiovascular system. They both go through many years of rigorous schooling and training. They both work in a hospital or hospital-like setting. They are both extremely well-trained doctors and a great addition to your treatment team. Although, that is about as much as they have in common. Interventional cardiologists are trained in more advanced techniques and procedures, while standard cardiologists are less invasive. Let’s explore more into how a standard cardiologist can help you on your way to cardiac health and wellness!

To become a standard cardiologist, one must receive their undergraduate degree, then complete four years of medical school. After medical school, cardiologist hopefuls serve between two and seven years as a resident in internal medicine, receiving more specialized training. They then spend between two and four years in a cardiology-specific fellowship.

Once specifically trained, the job hunt begins for cardiologists and interventional cardiologists alike. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for both of these professions is around the same: 17%. However, with the more specialized training and extra years of schooling comes more pay. An interventional cardiologist gets paid, on average, about $50,000 more than standard cardiologists do, but neither salary is anything to scoff at!

With regards to your treatment, a cardiologist is best to see when you are diagnosed with heart disease, for example, or when your risk of such is extremely high. You may also choose to seek out a cardiologist in your area if you are worried about your cardiovascular health or need a second opinion on your best plan forward with such. You cardiologist will mainly concentrate and focus assessing your heart health and on running the right medical tests to correctly find your problem. Some may even perform tests to find specific ailments, such as arterial blockages. Then, they will work with you to correctly treat the problem with medication or lifestyle changes. They can also refer you to an interventional cardiologist, who specializes in minimally invasive, but non-surgical procedures for treating more serious cardiovascular and heart problems.

If you see an interventional cardiologist, you will likely be getting catheter-based treatment for your heart disease. These procedures are usually performed withing the cardiac catheterization laboratory, or the “cath lab.” They will typically review referrals from other cardiologists or doctors, plan a procedure for the patient and go over it with them. They can also run other non-invasive tests if they need to. The types of procedures that interventional cardiologists would do include, but are not limited to:

  • Inserting stents into one’s arteries
  • Repairing torn or weakened heart valves
  • Cardiac catheterization to determine the type of heart disease a patient has
  • Angioplasty (balloon or stent)

While both professionals can treat your heart and cardiovascular ailments and are similar in other respects, they also have differences in what they do and how they do it. Whether you need a standard cardiologist, or an interventional cardiologist may depend on your level of disease or may be referred from another doctor. Ultimately, every doctor that you have on your treatment team will give you the best treatment and care possible.   

If you are deciding between cardiologists or specialists to see for your heart or cardiovascular problems, give CT Cardio a call for an appointment! Take steps to get heart healthy!