Cardiovascular Disease

The Discipline

Cardiovascular disease (typically referred to as “cardiology”) focuses on prevention, diagnosis, and management of disorders of the cardiovascular system.

Management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease prevention, and early diagnosis and intervention for established disease are important elements of cardiology. Diseases typically seen by a cardiologist include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Pericardial diseases
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Endocarditis
  • Dysrhythmias
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease in adults
  • Disorders of the veins, arteries, and pulmonary circulation

Some cardiologists choose to focus their practice further in specific areas of cardiovascular disease. Advanced certification is available in Interventional Cardiology (diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease with invasive methods), Cardiac Electrophysiology (evaluation treatment of dysrhythmias), and Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology (management of advanced heart failure) following additional training beyond the basic cardiovascular disease fellowship.

Cardiologists practice in a wide range of settings, including individual or group practice, participation in multispecialty group practices, and work in hospital settings, either as full-time staff or as a consultant.


Cardiovascular fellowship training requires three years of accredited training beyond the three-year categorical internal medicine residency. Board certification in cardiovascular disease through the American Board of Internal Medicine is available following completion of this fellowship.

Training Positions

In the 2020-2021 academic year, there were 252 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in cardiovascular disease with 3,249 trainees.

Major Professional Societies

  • American College of Cardiology
  • American Heart Association

See all the career pathways open to internal medicine doctors.

Back to the March 2021 issue of ACP IMpact