Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels—the cardiovascular system. You might also visit a cardiologist so you can learn about your risk factors for heart disease and find out what measures you can take for better heart health. Texas Heart Institute cardiologists are listed in the professional staff directory.
When you are dealing with a complex health condition like heart disease, it is important that you find the right match between you and your specialist. A diagnosis of heart or vascular disease often begins with your primary care doctor, who then refers you to a cardiologist. The cardiologist evaluates your symptoms and your medical history and may recommend tests for a more definite diagnosis. Then, your cardiologist decides if your condition can be managed under his or her care using medicines or other available treatments. If your cardiologist decides that you need surgery, he or she refers you to a cardiovascular surgeon, who specializes in operations on the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. You remain under the care of your cardiologist even when you are referred to other specialists.
Cardiology is a complex field, so many cardiologists specialize in different areas. All cardiologists are clinical cardiologists who focus on the diagnosis, medical management (use of medicines), and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Some clinical cardiologists specialize in pediatric cardiology, which means they diagnose and treat heart problems in children. When clinical cardiologists treat only adult patients, they specialize in adult cardiology. Other clinical cardiologists may specialize in interventional procedures (balloon angioplasty and stent placement), echocardiography, or electrophysiology.
Cardiologists at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital research and develop techniques for treating heart and vascular diseases. For more details, see the Summary of Research, and for examples of our historic innovations, see Cardiology at THI.
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Updated August 2012