What is cardiology?

Cardiology is a sub-branch of medicine that deals with the study of function and diseases of the human heart.

Who is a cardiologist?

A medical physician who has obtained a specialized degree in the treatment and management of cardiovascular issues is a cardiologist. Cardiologists additionally look to create awareness and education in the patients about the health of the heart.

What are the super specializations in cardiology?

The field of cardiology is a vast field, including care, management, diagnosis, and treatment of many heart conditions. A doctor typically does a 5-year MBBS course, followed by a post-graduate course for Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in general medicine. To be a cardiologist, they further have to do a 3-year super specialty course of D.M. in Cardiology to be a cardiologist. Some of the other courses offered are – Diploma in Cardiovascular Technology, P.G. Diploma in Clinical Cardiology Course (PGDCC), M.S. in Cardiological nursing, M.Ch. In Cardiology, M.Ch. Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, P.G. Diploma in Community Cardiology, DNB Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Doctor of Medicine in Cardiology, and B.Sc. in Cardiac Care Technology.

What is the scope of cardiology? What are the different types of diseases in cardiology?

The epidemiology of heart disease is one of the leading causes of death globally. There have been increasing demands of cardiologists all around the world. With advancements in health & technology, newer fields have emerged in cardiology. It is not only limited to patient treatment & management, but the role has been extended for medical devices and biomedical engineering. 

There exist a diverse pool of diseases and disorders that cardiologists manage. Some of the common conditions encountered upon clinical examination include – 

  1. Disorders of heart rate, rhythm, and conduction
  2. Atherosclerosis
  3. Vascular disease
  4. Coronary artery disease
  5. Congenital heart disease
  6. Heart valve diseases
  7. Diseases of myocardium
  8. Diseases of the pericardium

The common signs and symptoms include – 

  1. Chest pain
  2. Breathlessness (dyspnea)
  3. Acute circulatory failure (cardiogenic shock)
  4. Heart failure
  5. Palpitations 
  6. Syncope & Presyncope
  7. Cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death
  8. Abnormal heart sounds and murmurs

A patient should take any of these persisting problems seriously.

What are the comorbidities, complications, organs affected, signs, and symptoms of cardiovascular problems?

Patients with cardiovascular abnormalities are found to have chronic comorbidities associated with them. Some of the most common comorbidities include – 

  1. Depression & Anxiety 
  2. Diabetes 
  3. Metabolic syndrome 
  4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases 
  5. Obesity
  6. Hypertension 

Any persistent cardiac problems can have a deteriorating effect on the overall health of an individual. The heart is a vital organ that transports blood loaded with oxygen to various body organs. Upon cardiovascular abnormalities, the blood flow to different organs becomes impaired. Other organs get affected due to the insufficient supply of oxygen. The most common organs affected are the highly perfused organs such as – brain, kidney, and liver. In addition to the direct impact on the functioning of major organs, there are several issues with the peripheral blood vessels, leading to peripheral edema and swelling of legs, ankles, and other distant organs.

What are the different diagnostic tests?

Cardiovascular conditions are complex and require specific investigations. Thus, the diagnosis of cardiac disease becomes essential for treatment and management.

Some of the standard tests for cardiovascular diseases include – electrocardiography, chest X-ray, and echocardiography.

Other techniques are more sophisticated that require highly skilled personnel.

  1. Electrocardiogram – used to assess cardiac conduction and rhythm. There are different ECG – exercise (stress) ECG, ambulatory ECG, and 12-lead ECG.
  2. Laboratory tests – uses plasma/serum to measure cardiac biomarkers (chemicals that hint towards heart problems). Some of the commonly tested biomarkers include – cardiac troponins, brain natriuretic peptides, and CPK.
  3. Other techniques – 
    1. Chest X-ray 
    2. Echocardiography (echo) – is used to image heart structures in real-time. It is also known as cardiac ultrasound. There are different types of echo, like – two-dimensional (2D) echocardiography, doppler echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, stress echocardiography.
    3. Computed tomographic imaging (C.T.), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    4. Cardiac catheterization is a complex process that involves the insertion of a pre-shaped catheter into the heart with X-ray guidance. It is used to measure the pressure and oxygen saturation in the cardiac chamber and prominent blood vessels. 
    5. Electrophysiology study – it is used to diagnose a suspected arrhythmia. It is done by placing a percutaneous electrode catheter into the heart through femoral and neck veins. 
    6. Radionuclide imaging – imaging heart using gamma-emitting radionuclides non-invasively. It is used less commonly. Two techniques under radionuclide imaging include – blood-pool imaging and myocardial perfusion imaging.

What is the consultation cost for a cardiologist?

The average cost for consulting an oncologist in India ranges between INR 500-1000.

The cost of consultation in major cities of India are as follows –

  • New Delhi – INR 500-2000
  • Mumbai – INR 800-3000
  • Chennai – INR 500-1000
  • Bengaluru – INR 600-1000
  • Hyderabad – INR 500-1000

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