What is a Non-Invasive Cardiologist?

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There are many types of cardiologists, who specialize in certain technologies, procedures and areas of expertise. There are two main types of cardiologists: invasive and non-invasive.

A non-invasive cardiologist attends medical school and completes a three year residency and additional three or more years of fellowship training.  Cardiologists are not surgeons, and non-invasive cardiologists primarily see patients in an attempt to prevent and manage heart problems through medications and lifestyle changes. The average non-invasive cardiologist sees close to 30 patients a day, and that varies depending on whether they run their own practice or work at a hospital.

These cardiologists perform several diagnostic tests on the heart to measure one’s heart health. If a patient does have a heart issue that can be managed by a change in lifestyle or medication, the cardiologist will prescribe a course of action and monitor the patient’s progress. However if the patient requires a heart procedure, the non-invasive cardiologist will refer him or her to another physician.

The tests this doctor performs include an echocardiogram (an imaging procedure used to measure the heart’s function), stress tests to measure the heart’s health, and an EKG (electrocardiogram), a test to measure the electrical activity level of the heart over a short period of time. The non-invasive cardiologist can now improve the accuracy of the echocardiogram by injecting a safe non-radioactive contrast through an intravenous, using 3-Dimensional imaging and also by doing the echocardiogram together with a stress test.  Nuclear scans are used to diagnose heart artery blockages and involve taking close up images of the heart using a high-tech camera after the patient is injected with a safe radioactive dye.

The range of tests that the non-invasive cardiologist performs in the hospital has recently increased. A non-invasive cardiologist can also do a CT scan which can look at the heart arteries directly for blockages, which sometimes means that the patient does not need to have a more invasive test (such as an angiogram) to diagnose heart disease.  Recently, heart MRIs are being used to take very accurate pictures of the heart muscle without the use of any radiation.

Most patients with heart disease can do very well with the appropriate testing and management plan including not only medications but changes in diet and lifestyle.

If you are experiencing a more severe heart condition that cannot be resolved by medication or a change in lifestyle, you will likely be referred to an interventional cardiologist or an electrophysiologist. An interventional cardiologist uses catheter-based treatment designed to restore blood flow to the heart and help put an end to some of the symptoms of artery blockage.  An electrophysiologist can use a catheter-based treatment to cure or control your heart rhythm problem.  They can also put in a pacemaker to regulate your heart rhythm, if needed.

At the Heart Health Institute, we provide a variety of services that are aimed at keeping your heart in check. Our centre has been a leader in the implementation of non-invasive cardiac procedures, including one type of test that is now used worldwide in non-invasive heart tests. The Heart Health Institute was one of the first clinics in North America to integrate 3-D echocardiography and contrast into everyday practice.

So if you need the services of a non-invasive cardiologist for any consultation or testing, make sure to visit us at Heart Health Institute.

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