Cardiologists exist to help people achieve better heart health. Using a wide variety of diagnostics, cardiologists can pinpoint problems with the heart’s rhythm, blood flow, and muscles and propose solutions that can help a patient live a longer and healthier life. Cardiologists help vulnerable people monitor their health, ensuring that they have the best possible outcomes.
Dr. Allen Amorn, an Ohio cardiologist with decades of experience, explains the field of cardiology and relates the daily routine of a cardiologist.
Conditions Treated by Cardiologists
Cardiologists treat many different conditions that affect the heart and vascular system. Cardiologists treat patients who present at their primary care office with shortness of breath, chest pains, and dizzy spells. These can be early warning signs of heart problems.
Some of the conditions treated by cardiologists include coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Heart arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, are also common. Heart failure and heart valve disease can be catastrophic for the patient.
Congenital heart disease is most commonly found in younger patients, but can affect people of any age and requires special attention from a cardiologist. Cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart is also relatively common conditions and can be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other conditions.
Tests Performed by Cardiologists
Cardiologists regularly check patients’ blood pressure and heart rhythm. Vital signs can point toward possible cardiac problems. Echocardiograms are ultrasound pictures that examine the function and structure of the heart. Ambulatory ECGs record a patient’s heart rhythms during activity to see whether their condition is aggravated under certain conditions.
Exercise tests determine how the patient’s body reacts under stress. Finally, cardiac catheterization enables the cardiologist to place a small tube in the heart to check on the heart’s function, take images to look for blockages, or relieve these blockages using balloons and stents.
A Cardiologist’s Daily Routine
Cardiologists like Dr. Allen Amorn often begin their day on rounds at the hospital. Visiting hospitalized patients allows them to check on their progress and to stay in touch with hospitalists and nurses. They can stay in touch with cardiovascular surgeons who treat the patient with the cardiologist’s collaboration.
After rounds, cardiologists see patients in their office. Generally, a referral from a primary care doctor is necessary to see a cardiologist. Cardiologists work with primary care doctors to manage chronic conditions.
The course of an appointment at the cardiologist’s office generally begins with the taking of vital signs by a nurse or medical assistant. Blood tests may also be performed. The cardiologist will speak with the patient and answer his or her concerns, and then listen to the heart to check for arrhythmias and murmurs. The cardiologist will ask about any worrying symptoms that the patient has experienced.
In-office tests given by cardiologists include ECGs and echocardiograms or ultrasound of the heart. Cardiologists may also perform stress or exercise tests in the office. These tests enable cardiologists to get a better handle on the course of cardiovascular disease.
During the day, cardiologists stay in touch with their colleagues, sharing information and patient notes. Cardiologists also work with other specialists to coordinate the care of multiple conditions.
Cardiologists also need to spend time interpreting the results of their tests. Cardiologists must review the data that comes from ambulatory ECGs and heart ultrasound tests. This data could point toward a worrisome diagnosis, or it could be ruled out as a serious problem.
Cardiologists are often on call for hospital consultations after hours. They receive data from their partners at the hospital and can communicate which patients need to be seen.
Cardiologists Protect Your Health
Together with your healthcare team, cardiologists can help patients toward a healthier life. While the conditions treated by cardiologists are generally serious, advances in science are constantly being made which may mean that even the worst diagnosis may be able to receive some relief. Dr. Allen Amorn encourages all patients to learn more about cardiology and to find out what concrete steps they could be taking to support heart health.