Cardiology basically is study & treatment of disorders relating to the heart. This is a medical specialty which involves caring of all things associated with the heart & its arteries. However, a cardiologist is not the same like a cardiac surgeon. Cardiac surgeons are doctors who open up the chest in order to perform heart surgery. Cardiologists on the other hand carry out tests & procedures like coronary angioplasty.
Cardiovascular Disease & Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease differs from heart disease. While the former refers to illnesses & disorders of the heart & blood vessels, the latter is only specifically concerned with the heart. Heart disease basically describes a range of conditions affecting the heart. Heart disease umbrella includes diseases like congenital heart defects (heart defects born with), arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems) & blood vessel diseases like coronary artery disease. On the other hand cardiovascular disease usually refers to conditions which involve blocked or narrowed blood vessels leading to stroke, angina (chest pain) or heart attack. Other heart conditions like those affecting muscles of the heart, rhythm or valves are considered types of heart disease. Nevertheless, several forms of heart diseases can either be prevented or treated by making healthy lifestyle choices.
- Nuclear Cardiology – This subspecialty uses nuclear imaging techniques in the non-invasive study of cardiovascular diseases & disorders, including myocardial perfusion imaging, planar imaging, single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) & infarction imaging. Nuclear cardiologists basically use radioactive materials.
- Interventional Cardiology – This subspecialty involves using intravascular catheter based techniques along with fluoroscopy for treating valvular, congenital cardiac & coronary artery diseases. Interventional cardiologists generally perform coronary thrombectomies, congenital heart defects corrections, valvuloplasties & angioplasties.
- Echocardiography – This subspecialty uses ultrasound waves for creating images of heart valves, heart chambers & surrounding structures. Echocardiography effectively measures as to how well the heart is able to pump blood (cardiac output) along with determining level of inflammation around heart (pericarditis). Echocardiography is also utilized to identify infections or structural abnormalities of heart valves.
- Cardiac Electrophysiology – This involves the study of spread, mechanism & interpretation of electric currents occurring inside heart muscle tissue. This is the system which eventually generates the heartbeat. During electrophysiology study or EPS of the heart, catheter is threaded into vein at top of the leg & guided under fluoroscopy making its way to the heart. These catheters are meant to measure electrical signals within the heart. EPS of heart is usually performed so as to determine if the patient requires a pacemaker & why the patient is fainting when other tests found no cause & to help decide the best treatment option for patients with abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). EPS can also determine how prone a patient is to accelerated heart beats (tachycardia).
Heart is basically a pump. It is a muscular organ which is about the size of a fist & is situated slightly left of center in chest. Heart is further divided in the left & the right side. This division is meant to protect oxygen-rich blood from mixing with blood which is poor in oxygen. Oxygen-poor blood is blood which returns to the heart after circulating throughout the body. Right side of the heart comprises of the right atrium & right ventricle. It collects & pumps blood to lungs through pulmonary arteries. Lungs basically refresh blood with newer supply of oxygen. Lungs also help in eliminating carbon dioxide as a waste product. Oxygen-rich blood subsequently enters the left side of heart which comprises of the left atrium & the left ventricle. Following this, left side of the heart pumps blood through aorta to supply blood containing oxygen & nutrients to tissues throughout the body.
- Heart Valves – There are four valves within the heart which keep blood moving in the right way by opening in a synchronized fashion only when it is required. Moreover, these valves must be properly formed to function perfectly & must open all the way & also close tightly so that there is no leakage. The four valves of the heart are as follows.
Causes of Cardiovascular & Heart Diseases
Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Types of Cardiac Treatments
Choosing DygnHealthCare for Affordable Cardiac Surgery