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Research Assessment #1

Date: September 7, 2019


Subject: Cardiology
MLA Citation:
Nordqvist, Christian. “Cardiology: What It Is, When It Is Needed, and What to Expect.”
Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 3 Apr. 2017,
www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248935.php.
Analysis:
While most articles may present factual information to readers as if they may already
know the context of the profession of cardiology, not many will exhibit the same information from
the perspective of a patient. Offering information in this way will allow readers who are
interested in this topic to gain a deeper understanding of the displayed material, and will allow
students such as myself to go behind the scenes and understand the information in a different
sense. The author of this article goes further in depth into the subject of cardiology as the article
progresses, and is able to interest the reader into the different procedures a patient has to go
through when needing to see a cardiologist is a necessity, and why one may need to see one in
the first place. While explaining this, the author simultaneously is able to inform the reader of the
different procedures a cardiologist might perform, and the scenarios of heart problems that they
may deal with. By providing the reader with this information, the author is not only able to help
patients to understand the circumstances of visiting a cardiologist, but he is also providing
aspiring cardiologists, such as myself, or students interested in this topic a better grasp over this
information by exposing us to a unique style of presenting it.

In the beginning of the article, the author creates a distinguishing statement that sets
apart a cardiologist from a cardiac surgeon. Because most aspiring cardiologists may already
be familiar with this difference, it becomes obvious within the first sentence itself that this article
is meant for patients, or readers who may not have as much background information about this
subject. The second section of the article is presented in a bolded header which says “when
would I need a cardiologist”. Again, the author makes it clear that while he is trying to provide
readers with information, he is also giving it in the perspective of a patient. Symptoms that
indicate a heart problem may be shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pains, high blood
pressure, as well as changes in heart rate or rhythm. If a patient chooses to visit a cardiologist
because of these symptoms, cardiologists may carry out a variety of tests which may test
positive for the many types of heart diseases which cardiologists may deal with. Diseases such
as atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, coronary heart
disease, congestive heart disease, high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, hypertension,
pericarditis, and ventricular tachycardia, all fall under the responsibility of a cardiologist, who will
treat them accordingly. The article is also able to provide the specific tests which a cardiologist
may carry out in order to diagnose or treat patients with specific heart problems. Tests such as
the electrocardiogram, ambulatory ECG, exercise and stress tests, echocardiogram, cardiac
catheterization and nuclear cardiology may be performed only by cardiologists. The last section
of the article discusses the possibility of “choosing a cardiologist”, if one may need one.
Although cardiologists may be referred by physicians, other factors such as communication
style and logical recommendations for treatment by the cardiologists, that are not too risky or
expensive, go into choosing a cardiologist that suits a patient the best. This also reflects back
on students interested in this topic, as we are informed to be able to have efficient
communication skills, and a high level of intelligence.

There may have been a lot of information presented in this article about the specifics of
cardiology, however this information can be broken down. First, being able to identify and create
a plan of attack for a patient exhibiting symptoms of heart disease in necessary. This step
portrays the importance of having quick and efficient decision making as well as being aware of
slight abnormalities. Physical traits that are not normal such as slower breathing cycles and
subtle pains are things that need to be seen and picked up as a threat to a patient’s health by
cardiologists. Soon, they need to also be able to have the knowledge in order to offer the
patients the best form of treatment or procedures depending on the severity of the health
problem. This relates to me because I believe that I display these abilities. A keen awareness
and quick decision making are traits I possess, however can be developed through the help of
ISM. Second, a cardiologist needs to have a specific knowledge of, and be familiar with the
vocabulary and dialect of the medical world. In order to carry out tests, which require more than
a general knowledge to carry out, and using the results of these tests to diagnose patients
requires years of experience and the characteristic of being an efficient learner. The process of
learning the terminology of the medical world requires years of professional education. However
discipline and attention to detail also plays into that, and I hope to capitalize on those traits as I
develop myself as a student within the ISM program. Lastly, the ability to have efficient
communication skills and social skills will not only attract more patients, but will help you with
the business aspect of being a cardiologist. Adapting to people’s talking styles and actions will
allow you to increase the amount of social connections one may gain throughout their
professional career. Developing these communication skills are something I strongly believe are
necessary in the modern world, and that ISM will help me to achieve that goal which will make
me successful in the professional world.

Although the article in general did not necessarily struck me as surprising, the way the
information was presented was interesting. It allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of this
specific medical field, as well as differentiated cardiology from the other medical specialties that
exist. The certain procedures and tests that occur in a cardiologist’s daily routine stood out as
interesting and caught my attention. The specifics of how machines are operated and how the
results are measured made me feel as if I were shadowing a doctor who was explaining these
details to me. I still have the same passionate interest I had for cardiology prior to this article,
however the specifics of the physical work of this profession stood out to me as a student. The
unique presentation of this information also attracted me, personally, as a reader although this
style may not seem as efficient for other readers. Being as curious as I am, I started to ask
myself different questions such as “what are efficient methods of learning the different
terminology of this job?”, and “how does a cardiologists adapt to the fast technological
advancements in such a technology dependent profession such as cardiology?”. These
questions may only be answered through a deeper, specific research which I intend to do as my
curiosity is my motivation for cardiology.
This information all reflects back to me and is relevant to me in a variety of ways. My
growing interest for cardiology is always met with a deeper research into the topic, and learning
about the different symptoms, treatments, and qualities of a cardiologist continues to push me
towards this job. Not only does this information impact me in the education perspective, but it
also affects me as a person. The traits that can be seen in a cardiologist such as having
awareness, making quick and efficient decisions, staying curious, having the passion to grow,
and developing communication skills are not only necessary to thrive while being a cardiologist,
rather the professional world as a whole, no matter what one’s job may consist of. Using all of
these traits are in effect when one may be consulting professionals, or in a cardiologist’s case,
other partners and patients. These traits can be traced back to a TED talk by cardiologist James
Beckerman, as he discusses the obstacles that he had to face in the frustrating process of
spreading awareness about heart disease. In order to prevent the rise of heart problems,
Beckerman was able to find his way around these problems and convey the message of lethal
heart problems to his patients and the public. The information presented in this article can be
applied by myself in the many scenarios I will be faced with throughout my ISM journey. More
importantly, developing these traits will make me more effective in the real world and will allow
me to grow as an individual. In ISM, I hope I can capitalize upon these traits in order to
formulate a path into the professional world which will lead me to success.

Article Transcript:
**Annotations will be marked in blue font**

What is Cardiology?
By Christian Nordqvist

Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders of the heart and the blood vessels. A person
with heart disease or cardiovascular disease may be referred to a cardiologist.

Cardiology is a branch of internal medicine. A cardiologist is not the same as a cardiac surgeon.
Immediately the author makes a differentiation between cardiologist and cardiac surgeon, which
unfamiliar people may be confused about. A cardiac surgeon opens the chest and performs
heart surgery.

A cardiologist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the cardiovascular system. The
cardiologist will carry out tests, and they may some do procedures, such as heart
catheterizations, angioplasty, or inserting a pacemaker. This sentence explains the physical
work a cardiologist may do on a daily basis.
Heart disease relates specifically to the heart, while cardiovascular disease affects the heart,
the blood vessels, or both.

To become a cardiologist in the United States, it is necessary to complete 4 years of medical


school, 3 years of training in internal medicine, and at least 3 years specializing in cardiology.

When would I need a cardiologist?

If a person has symptoms of a heart condition, their physician may refer them to a cardiologist.
Patients are referred to their cardiologists and do not directly book appointments with them.

Symptoms that can indicate a heart problem include:

● shortness of breath
● dizziness
● chest pains
● changes in heart rate or rhythm
● high blood pressure

These symptoms may not be the most obvious, meaning cardiologists need to have a keen
awareness to recognize the physical traits.

A cardiologist can carry out tests for a heart murmur or an abnormal heart rhythm.

They often treat patients who have had a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problems.
They help make decisions about heart surgery, heart catheterization, and angioplasty and
stenting. This explains the role of cardiologists and their decision making process for patients
with heart problems.

Heart diseases that a cardiologist can help with include:

● atherosclerosis
● atrial fibrillation
● arrhythmias
● congenital heart disease
● coronary heart disease
● congestive heart disease
● high blood cholesterol and triglycerides
● hypertension
● pericarditis
● ventricular tachycardia
● high blood pressure, or hypertension

These diseases may come up in the daily language of a cardiologist who must be familiar with
each distinct heart disease.

The cardiologist can give advice about preventing heart disease. More about the role of
spreading awareness about confronting heart disease to reduce the frequency.

A person may need to see a cardiologist even without symptoms, if they have a family history of
heart disease or high cholesterol, if they are or have been a smoker, if they have diabetes, or if
they are starting a new exercise program. Genetic diseases or family history of diseases
requires a cardiologists attention.

A woman who has had pre-eclampsia may be at higher risk of heart problems in a later
pregnancy or during the menopause.

What does cardiology involve?


A cardiologist will review a patient's medical history and carry out a physical examination.

They may check the person's weight, heart, lungs, blood pressure, and blood vessels, and carry
out some tests. Basic and obvious organs and parts of the body that affect the heart

An interventional cardiologist may carry out procedures such as angioplasties, stenting,


valvuloplasties, congenital heart defect corrections, and coronary thrombectomies.

Tests
They may also carry out or order tests as listed below:

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): this records the electrical activity of the heart.

Ambulatory ECG: this records heart rhythms while the person carries out exercise or their
regular activities. Small metal electrodes are stuck on to the chest, and these are connected by
wires to a Holter monitor, which records the rhythms.

An exercise test, or stress test: this shows the changes of heart rhythm when resting and
exercising. It measures the performance and limitations of the heart.

Echocardiogram: this provides an ultrasound picture that shows the structure of the heart
chambers and surrounding areas, and it can show how well the heart is working.

Echocardiography can measure how well the heart is pumping blood, known as cardiac output.
It can detect inflammation around the heart, known as pericarditis. It can also identify structural
abnormalities or infections of the heart valves.

Cardiac catheterization: a small tube in or near the heart collects data and may help relieve a
blockage. It can take pictures and check the functioning of the heart and the electrical system.
Catheter-based techniques with fluoroscopy can be used to treat congenital cardiac, valvular,
and coronary artery diseases.

Nuclear cardiology: nuclear imaging techniques use radioactive materials to study


cardiovascular disorders and diseases in a noninvasive way.

Examples are infarction imaging, single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT),


planar imaging, and myocardial perfusion imaging.

All of these tests are very specific and are interesting as to the instruments and the processes
used. Each test is designed for a different result which can be read and used to diagnose
diseases in someone, all by a cardiologist.

Cardiac electrophysiology

Cardiac electrophysiology is a subspecialty of cardiology. Subspecialties are sub categories


within the field of cardiology, which may require more years of professional education. The
physician looks at how electric currents inside the heart muscle tissue work, how the current
spreads, and what the pattern of the currents mean.
Electrophysiology study (EPS) of the heart: in this test, a catheter is threaded into a vein at the
top of the leg. Guided under fluoroscopy, it makes its way to the heart. The catheter measures
the electrical signals within the heart.

An EPS of the heart can:

● help to show what is causing symptoms


● help decide if a patient needs a pacemaker
● help decide the best treatment for patients with arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm
● determine how likely a patient is to experience tachycardia or an accelerated heart
beat

A cardiac electrophysiologist can provide treatment for abnormal rhythms including cardiac
ablation, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, or pacemakers.

Choosing a cardiologist

Patients are often referred to a cardiologist by their physician, but they may wish to choose their
own specialist.

The American Heart Association (AHA) advises people to check that their cardiologist is board
certified. Patients can check this through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the
American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).

It is also important to choose a doctor whose communication style suits them. If the cardiologist
recommends a treatment that seems risky or expensive, or if the patient is not sure why they
need this treatment, the AHA suggest looking for a second opinion. Communication skills and
being trustworthy is a big responsibility that comes with being in such a demanding career.