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Subspecialty Careers: Cardiovascular Disease/Cardiology

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.


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.


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

For the 2011-2012 academic year, there were 187 ACGME-accredited training programs in Cardiovascular Disease and 2,534 active trainees.


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

Major Professional Societies

Major Publications

IM Essentials

IM Essentials brings the self-assessment questions currently in MKSAP for Students and the textbook content of Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students together into a single, updated and integrated suite of educational materials with a variety of new enhancements. Learn more.

Benefits of ACP Membership for Students: ACP's free Medical Student Membership includes benefits designed especially to meet students' needs.

Find a Residency

Search ACP's Internal Medicine Residency Database for information on all internal medicine residency programs in the U.S. and Canada. (ACP Members only)

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