Cardiologists are doctors who diagnose, assess and treat patients with diseases and defects of the heart and blood vessels (the cardiovascular system). Cardiologists work with adult patients - paediatric cardiology is a separate specialty.
Cardiologists manage patients with conditions such as:
- angina (chest pain caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries)
- arrhythmias, eg atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
- heart murmurs due to heart valve disease
- cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) with heart failure including pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid)
- coronary artery thrombosis or myocardial infarction (heart attack) often associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
- diseases of the arteries (atherosclerosis, arteritis, atheroma)
- hole in the heart and other forms of congenital heart disease within adult life including transition from paediatric care and shared care of pregnant women with heart disease
Much of the emphasis is on improving survival rates and quality of life following heart attacks, heart failure or heart rhythm disorders.