Heart Docs 101: Understanding the Specialties
When you or a loved one is in need of heart care, it may feel overwhelming. You know you need to see a heart specialist, but which one? Having heart disease can lead you in a number of directions.
You want that expert knowledge
Many people go to a cardiologist because they want a specialist, but even in the world of cardiology there are “super-specialists” – doctors who are highly specialized in a specific area of cardiology.
“These ‘super-specialists,’” explains Benico Barzilai, MD, Section Head of Clinical Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic, “are involved with research, education and practice using the most up-to-date information, guidelines, diagnostic testing and modes of treatment. In many cases, the super specialists work together to solve complex patient problems.”
For example, he says, a patient may visit an electrophysiologist due to atrial fibrillation and find out that they also have heart valve disease. Or a patient with heart failure may find that they require a special pacemaker to make sure that both sides of the heart pump in synchrony. In these cases, a heart failure specialist or valve specialist may work with the electrophysiologist to create a plan of care that is best for the patient. The end result is a team approach to provide the best care available to the patient.