Difference between a Cardiologist and a Cardiothoracic Surgeon?

India is experiencing an increase in cardiovascular diseases and associated risk factors. It can be attributed to multiple factors like genetics or hypertension. Any heart condition, including any type or form of heart disease, may lead to you being referred to a specialist in heart care.

Patients must know what they need and how different specialists can help them. We will now focus on two different but equally important specialties in cardiac surgery: cardiologists (or cardiothoracic surgeons).

What Does A Cardiologist Do? What Does The Cardiologist Do?

Cardiologist Denver is a specialist in treating cardiovascular diseases with medicines and catheter-based therapies, and are doctors who specialize in this field. They treat conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and other related problems to the heart rhythm. Cardiologists work closely together with patients to assess and treat various heart conditions. Several sub-specialties can be found in cardiology. These include:

  • Clinic cardiac electrophysiology focuses on diagnosing heart rhythm problems and treating them.
  • Pediatric cardiologists who are trained to treat heart diseases in children
  • Interventional Cardiologists can also perform catheter-based heart procedures to diagnose multiple cardiac conditions.

The general cardiologist is not qualified to perform surgical procedures. An interventional physician might be recommended if you need non-surgical procedures (e.g., placing coronary arteriovenous or endoscopy). This is because it is a catheter operation and not a procedure.

Who Are Cardiothoracic Specialists? When Should You Consult A Cardiothoracic Surgeon?

Cardiothoracic doctors are skilled in treating heart and vessel diseases and lung and esophagus disorders that require using knives. If you have a heart condition or a condition that affects the blood vessels or heart, your physician might recommend that you consult a cardiothoracic doctor.

You may be referred to a cardiothoracic or consulting doctor by your cardiologist.

  • If your heart problem isn’t being treated or worsening, you should seek out alternative treatments.
  • If you suffer from congenital heart disease
  • If the condition can’t be treated despite having tried non-surgical treatments,
  • For any other reason the cardiologist considers necessary, the surgeon should be consulted by the cardiothoracic specialist.

Surgeons vs. cardiologist

Both cardiologists and cardiac surgeons specialize in treating heart conditions. However, they are not the same. Let’s highlight their main differences so you can understand their unique role in heart care.

  1. Expertise/ Scope

Cardiothoracic doctors perform open-heart procedures. A general physician who can treat heart conditions such as cholesterol and hypertension is called a cardiologist. The interventional physician can perform procedures such as inserting catheters or repairing devices. Some of these procedures include angioplasty, cardiac catheterization, or ventricular septal defect repair to fix holes within the heart.

  1. Education

Both require extensive training and attending medical school. A general or interventional physician is trained in the internal medicine field and then has to spend several years training in interventional. After medical school, an aspiring cardiothoracic physician enters a three-year surgical residency as a general surgeon with certification. Three years later, they spent the 3-year learning about cardiothoracic surgeries and certification.

  1. Role in Inpatient Care

Most cardiothoracic doctors are one-time healthcare providers and provide only immediate pre- or post-surgery patient care. The role of the interventional heart doctor is also limited. They are only responsible for the operation and provide immediate care. Usually, the consulting cardiologist/general cardiologist takes on long-term healthcare and consults the patient about possible treatment options.