Medically Reviewed by Alan M. Blaker, MD
Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons play different and equally important roles in the care of a patient with Heart Disease, as McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker explains: Cardiologists will generally handle the diagnosis and medical treatment or nonsurgical procedures like balloon angioplasty, coronary stents, ablation procedures or devices like pacemakers or defibrillators. Cardiothoracic surgeons will handle bypass surgery and surgical valve replacement procedures. After surgery the patient will usually follow up with a cardiologist long term once released by the surgeon. Some newer procedures actually involve the talents of both cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgery such as TAVR or percutaneous valve replacement procedures.
Here are a few points from Dr. Blaker’s video:
- The cardiologist’s role is to evaluate and treat medically (without surgery) heart problems.
- Cardiologists also perform procedures, such as heart catheterizations, angioplasty (inserting balloons in arteries to clear them), and placing stents to keep arteries open.
- Cardiothoracic Surgeons generally perform surgery of the heart and chest.
- Cardiologists work with surgeons to manage patients and determine whether the patient needs surgery.
- They might also work together to treat irregular heart beat problems.
- Before surgery, the cardiologist will perform a full evaluation.
- The surgeon will manage the patient immediately after the surgery with help, if needed, from the cardiologist.
- Once the patient is recovering at home and after the surgeon has released the patient from his care, the cardiologist will follow them over the long-term.
Here are some other articles you may find helpful:
The Right Way to Choose Your Heart Surgeon
Heart Issues and Solutions: Treatment Options for Cardiac Problems
Find a Cardiologist near you.
Find a Cardiothoracic Surgeon.