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Subspecialty Careers: Cardiology

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The Discipline

From the Greek kardia, meaning heart, as used in the Hippocratic treatises.

Cardiology is the prevention, diagnosis, and management of disorders of the cardiovascular system, including ischemic heart disease, cardiac dysrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, valvular heart disease, pericarditis and myocarditis, endocarditis, congenital heart disease in adults, hypertension, and disorders of the veins, arteries, and pulmonary circulation. Management of risk factors for disease and early diagnosis and intervention for established disease are important elements of cardiology.

Procedures

Important procedural skills in cardiology include: cardioversion; arterial catheter insertion; balloon-tipped pulmonary artery catheter insertion; temporary and permanent pacemaker insertion; implantable cardiac defibrillator insertion; ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring; echocardiography; left ventricular catheterization, coronary angiography and percutaneous vascular interventions; nuclear scan wall motion studies; stress electrocardiography; thallium perfusion scanning; and tilt-table physiology studies.

Training

Cardiovascular fellowship training requires three years of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency. Of the three years, a minimum of 24 months must include clinical training in the diagnosis and management of a broad spectrum of cardiovascular disease.

Training Positions

As of 2005, there were 173 ACGME-accredited training programs in Cardiovascular Disease and 2,142 active trainees. Eighteen percent of the trainees were female and 65% were US medical graduates.

Certification

The American Board of Internal Medicine offers certification in cardiovascular disease.

Practice

Approximately 82% of the graduates enter clinical practice in cardiology in the United States, and 16% enter academic medicine.

Major Professional Societies

The American College of Cardiology
American Heart Association

Major Publications

American Journal of Cardiology
Heart & Lung
Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Back to September 2006 Issue of IMpact

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