Friday, February 5, 2010

Cardiologist vs Cardiothoracic surgeon?

People might misunderstood that a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon has the same job...actually they are DIFFERENT from each are some of the differences between between them:


A cardiologist is above all else, a medical (rather than a surgical) doctor. Cardiologists are trained first in the area of internal medicine which requires 3 years of specialty training beyond medical school. Once this has been completed, these "internists" are qualified to apply for opportunities to obtain additional training in the subspeciality of cardiology. Cardiologists are typically board certified in both internal medicine and their chosen field of cardiology. There are even subspecialties within cardiology including things like electrophysiology and interventional cardiology which involves performing types of procedures that fish thin tubes up the arteries till they reach the heart, and then using these to help open up blockages in the arteries that supply oxygen to the heart muscle.

Cardiologists are focused ONLY on the management of disease processes which affect the function of the heart, and their primary method of treating disease is by the use of medications. However, there are cardiologist specialists which manage the placement and control of pacemaker type devices, and there are cardiolgists that do these invasive catheter-directed procedures mentioned above. Cardiology is predominantly a medicine related field, but of the medicine related disciplines, this is one of the more intensive ones in terms of the amount of actual procedures performed.

Cardiothoracic surgeon

A cardiothoracic surgeon is, above all else, a surgical doctor. CT surgeons are first trained for at least 5 years in a general surgery training program, leading to where they can become board certified in the field of general surgery. Following this, these surgeons become eligible to apply for and obtain additional training in the subspecialty of cardiothoracic surgery which typically requires an additional 3 years of training. CT surgeons are typically board certified in both general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

Cardiothoracic surgeons perform operations on the heart muscle, the heart valves, the arteries to the heart, the great vessels of the chest, the lung with it's spongy tissue, it's air passages and blood vessels, as well as on the chest wall muscles, nerves, blood vessels and bones. Many cardiothoracic surgeons also take care of problems of the esophagus (which lies in the chest) and hernias of the abdomen in which organs slide into the chest. Additionally, some cardiothoracic surgeons subspecialize in surgeries for very young children with heart defects, or in heart and lung transplantation.

Although there are areas of overlap between these two fields, the primary difference is between a specialty which is centrally MEDICAL and another which is centrally SURGICAL.

Of note, neither of these specialties can function without the presence of the other.

and as for me I want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon....Teehee XD

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