Cardiologists, or cardiology consultants, are medical doctors who focus on cardiology. This medical field relates to the treatment, rehabilitation and diagnosis of people with cardiovascular conditions – typically those affecting the arteries, veins and heart. Some of the conditions that are treated by a Sydney cardiologist include raised blood pressure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and congestive heart failure. In addition, these experts treat atherosclerosis, a condition where blood vessels narrow, and aneurysm, a condition where artery walls weaken.
Usually, a Sydney cardiologist will belong to a bigger patient team that includes other experts and GPs. Generally speaking, people who think they have a heart condition, or who have signs of cardiac issues – such as chest tightness or difficulty breathing – must be assessed by a GP initially. The GP will then refer the patient to a Sydney cardiologist if necessary. Should the cardiologist decide that the patient requires surgery, he might refer that patient on to a specialist cardiothoracic surgeon.
Usually, even after a cardiologist has referred a patient, he will still continue to offer some level of care. The majority of cardiologists remain in regular contact with everyone involved in that patient’s treatment. In practice, this will mean that he frequently briefs these other specialists about what is happening, and will also factor in their advice and recommendations, when devising a treatment plan.
Cardiology consultants normally work in a hospital’s ICU (intensive care unit) and emergency room, where people experiencing heart problems are regularly brought in. In most cases, he will perform a range of diagnostic procedures to assess these patients. Such procedures often include an echocardiogram, an ECG (electrocardiogram), stress tests and a peripheral vascular ultrasound scan. Also, he might arrange a blood test, like a blood sugar fasting test, to determine whether diabetes mellitus is responsible for a patient’s symptoms. Lipid profile tests are sometimes performed as well, to gauge a patient’s triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Some people might be classed by their GPs as having a high risk of a heart condition, even if they are yet to experience any problems. These people might require a variety of preventative treatments, to stop their main arteries from deteriorating, for example, or to avoid a cardiac arrest. Obviously, preventative measures are always the preferred approach. Typically, cardiologists who are aware of these patients’ medical history can offer advice, and devise a plan for treatment that will evolve as time passes.