If you're experiencing cardiovascular problems, few health concerns are more important than choosing a doctor for your heart. You need a cardiologist who can accurately diagnose and treat your particular condition. Here are five questions to help you find just such a doctor.
Are You a Member of Any Professional Organizations?
At the very least, your cardiologist should be board-certified, which means that they've completed the training requirements and passed the exam of the medical board that they're certified by. In the United States, cardiologists are certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, as Chron notes.
In addition to being board-certified, the leading cardiologists are also fellows of the American College of Cardiology. Fellowship with the American College of Cardiology is an elected position. To be welcomed into the organization, cardiologists must present two sponsorship letters from fellow members (along with meeting other requirements, including being board-certified). Thus, fellowship with the American College of Cardiology additionally shows that a cardiologist is respected by colleagues in their field.
Do You Have Any Subspecialties?
Many cardiologists subspecialize within the field of cardiology. They may focus their practice on interventional cardiology, surgical cardiology, adult cardiology, pediatric cardiology or any number of other subspecialties.
If you already have a cardiovascular condition, you should seek out a cardiologist who subspecializes in a field that's relevant to your condition. A doctor who subspecializes in your particular condition will be familiar with the latest advances in treatment and have helped many patients who had the same or similar conditions.
How Many Times Have You Performed This Procedure?
If you need a particular procedure, ask your cardiologist how many times they've performed the procedure. According to the American Heart Association, doctors who have experience doing procedures tend to have better outcomes. Finding a doctor who has done your particular procedure many times will help ensure you have a positive outcome from the procedure.
What Percentage of Your Patients Are Male (or Female)?
You'll want to go to a cardiologist who sees a lot of patients that are the same gender as you. As Healthline details, the symptoms of a heart attack are different in men and women. Most notably, many women who have heart attacks don't experience chest pain, which is a common symptom in men. A cardiologist that sees a lot of patients who are the same gender as you will know what the signs of a heart attack for people of your gender are.
You don't necessarily need to see a cardiologist who only treats males (if you're a man) or females (if you're a woman). A doctor who sees about the same number of male and female patients will treat many of each gender, as long as they're in practice full time. If the vast majority of a cardiologist's patients are the opposite gender as you, though, you might want to find a different doctor.
Who Helps You When You're Not On Call?
Because a heart attack can strike at any time, your cardiologist might not be able to immediately treat you in the hours following a heart attack. For instance, if they're traveling out of town, they may not be able to get to the hospital for a few days. In the intervening time, one of their colleagues who helps them with on call coverage will likely see you. Ask who these colleagues are, and look for a cardiologist whose on-call partners have the same high credentials as your cardiologist does.
As you seek out a cardiologist, keep these questions in mind. They'll help you find a doctor who will take great care of your heart.
For more information, have a peek at this site or contact local cardiology clinics in your area.