Cardiology is a medical specialty concerned with disorders of the heart. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of such conditions as congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, Cardiac Dysrhythmias, Cardiomyopathies & Myocarditis, valvular heart disease, and preventive cardiology. Subspecialties of the cardiology field include Noninvasive Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Electrophysiology, nuclear cardiology, and Preventive Cardiology.
Specialists in cardiology are called cardiologists. Cardiologists diagnose cardiovascular disorders by reviewing your medical history and perform a physical examination that may include checking your weight, blood pressure, heart, lungs, blood vessels and using blood tests, Echocardiography ( the eyes of Cardiologist ) or Electrocardiography, Cardiac stress tests, Computed Tomography, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques. Your cardiologist may use Specific strategies to combat cardiovascular diseases include, Rheumatic Heart Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, Heart Failure, by recommending lifestyle changes, medicine or procedures such us Angiography & Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty, Pacemaker, and other device Implantation.
Cardiology tests include :
- Echocardiogram: Soundwave picture to look at the structure and function of the heart.
- Vascular Doppler: Ultrasound based evaluation of Arteries and Veins to detect Pathologies such as occlusion, narrowing, and internal layer thickening.
- ECG: recording of the cardiac electrical activity, the most commonly used exam in the cardiology field.
- Ambulatory ECG: a recording during activity to look for abnormal heart rhythms.
- Exercise test: a study to measure your heart’s performance and limitations.
- Cardiac Catheterization: a test in which a small catheter is placed in or near the heart to take pictures of coronary arteries, look at how the heart is working, check the electrical system, or place a pacemaker to relieve electrical system blockage.
- Angioplasty: when plaque closes the arteries, it becomes difficult for blood to flow normally. Angioplasty is inserting a tiny balloon into the closed vessel and pushes the plaque against the walls, allowing blood to flow.
- Stenting: Stenting is usually done in conjunction with angioplasty. a cardiac stent is a small metal coil that permanently holds a blocked vessel open.
- Holter Monitors: Holter monitors are cardiac events recorder, records cardiac electrical events for a set amount of time. it is one of the important tools for detecting cardiac electrical disturbances.
- Cardiac CT: by using high tech X-ray machine, cardiac structure particularly coronary artery, being evaluated.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) : uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals, a special camera and a computer to evaluate organ and tissue functions. By identifying changes at the cellular level, PET is used to detect cardiac cell viability.
Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation
In recent times, the focus is gradually shifting to Preventive cardiology due to increased Cardiovascular Disease burden at an early age. As per WHO, 37% of all premature deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases, and out of this, 82% are in low and middle-income countries. Clinical cardiology is the subspecialty of Cardiology which looks after preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation. Preventive cardiology also deals with routine preventive checkup though non-invasive tests specifically General Physical examination, Electrocardiography, Echocardiography, Vascular Doppler ( Flow-mediated Dilatation test, Carotid IMT, Ankle-brachial Index test ) Stress Tests, Lipid Profile and to detect any cardiovascular diseases at an early age while cardiac rehabilitation is the upcoming branch of cardiology which helps a person regain his overall strength and live a normal life after a cardiovascular event. We perform all of these measures in the Ariana Hospital Cardiology department since 2008.