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Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery

Cardiology is the study and treatment of disorders of the heart; it is a medical specialty which is involved in the care of all things associated with the heart and the arteries. A cardiologist is not the same as a cardiac surgeon - the cardiac surgeon opens the chest and performs heart surgery, a cardiologist, on the other hand, carries out tests and procedures, such as angioplasty.

Heart disease differs from cardiovascular disease, in that the latter refers to disorders and illnesses of the heart and blood vessels, while the former is only concerned with the heart.

In the USA, cardiology is a part of internal medicine. It is a discipline which includes the diagnosis, treatment, causes, as well as research into heart diseases and injuries.

In the USA, to become a cardiologist you have to complete a three-year residency in internal medicine, and then a three-year residency in cardiology. That's why the best hospitals and doctors are in the USA.

If you need more information, please contact us.

Cardiology has several subspecialties

  • Nuclear Cardiology - using nuclear imaging techniques in the non-invasive study of cardiovascular disorders and diseases, including infarction imaging, SPECT (single-photon-emission computed tomography), planar imaging, and myocardial perfusion imaging. The nuclear cardiologist uses radioactive materials.
  • Interventional Cardiology - involves the use of intravascular catheter-based techniques with fluoroscopy to treat congenital cardiac, valvular and coronary artery diseases.

Interventional cardiologists may perform angioplasties, valvuloplasties, congenital heart defectcorrections, and coronary thrombectomies.

  • Echocardiography - the use of ultrasound waves to create images of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding structures. Echocardiography can measure how well the heart is pumping blood (cardiac output), as well as determining levels of inflammation around the heart (pericarditis). Echocardiography can also be used to identify structural abnormalities or infections of the heart valves.
  • Cardiac electrophysiology - the study of the mechanism, spread, and interpretation of the electric currents which occur inside heart muscle tissue - the system that generates the heart beat.

During an electrophysiology study (EPS) of the heart, catheters are threaded into a vein at the top of the leg; guided under fluoroscopy, the catheter makes its way to the heart. The catheters measure the electrical signals within the heart. EPS of the heart may be performed to determine whether the patient needs a pacemaker, why somebody is fainting if other tests have found no cause, and to help decide the best treatment for patients with arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). EPS may also determine how prone a patient is to tachycardia (accelerated heart beat).

Treatments

  • Angioplasty for Coronary Artery Disease
  • Angioplasty for Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
  • Angioplasty for Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs
  • Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
  • Aortobifemoral Bypass for Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Atherectomy for Coronary Artery Disease
  • Balloon Valvotomy for Mitral Valve Stenosis
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty for Aortic Valve Stenosis
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Carotid Artery Stenting
  • Carotid Endarterectomy for TIA and Stroke
  • Catheter Ablation for a Fast Heart Rate
  • Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Central Venous Catheters
  • Compression Stockings for Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
  • Diabetes: Amputation for Foot Problems
  • Drug-Eluting Stents
  • Electrical Cardioversion (Defibrillation) for a Fast Heart Rate
  • Electrical Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Femoral-Tibial Bypass Surgery for Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Femoropopliteal Bypass (Fem-Pop Bypass) for Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Heart Transplant
  • Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
  • Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
  • Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
  • Leg Amputation
  • Maze Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Mitral Valve Repair Surgery (Commissurotomy) for Mitral Valve Stenosis
  • Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery
  • Pacemaker for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Pacemaker for Bradycardia
  • Physical Therapy
  • Procedures That May Require Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis
  • Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
  • Skin Grafting for Venous Skin Ulcer
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)
  • Vagal Maneuvers for a Fast Heart Rate
  • Vein Ligation and Stripping
  • Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) for Heart Failure

Best Hospitals

Top-Ranked Hospitals for Cardiology and Heart Surgery by U.S. News

Each year U.S. News & World Report publishes its “U.S. News Best Hospital Rankings,” a survey that evaluates and ranks thousands of U.S. hospitals using a variety of quantitative and qualitative analyses. For its 2010-11 survey, U.S. News ranked more than 600 hospitals in cardiology and heart surgery. All of these hospitals are experienced in treating difficult cases – a hospital is listed only if at least 1,280 inpatients in need of a high level of expertise in cardiology or heart surgery were treated there in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Death rates, patient safety and hospital reputation were a few of the factors considered in ranking the top hospitals. The following list identifies the top 10 hospitals in cardiology and heart surgery along with a brief profile of each hospital’s cardiovascular services:

1..Cleveland Clinic

The Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute is the largest cardiovascular practice in the U.S. No hospital in America sees more patients for heart and vascular conditions than Cleveland Clinic. Our caregivers have collectively seen it all and experienced it all. What does that mean to you? It means that as a patient of Cleveland Clinic, you’ll have access to the broadest possible range of solutions from skilled, experienced doctors, nurses and technicians. Options you may not have in your home town – or anywhere else in America.

2..Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)

Physicians in Cardiology and Vascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are committed to providing the most appropriate and highest quality of care to patients with cardiovascular disease. More than 150 staff physicians provide care for patients with cardiovascular disease, which includes disorders of the heart, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels. Physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease work together in a highly integrated and collaborative group practice. The heart care practice at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is one of the broadest and largest in the world. Members of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases care for approximately 55,000 patients annually. Patients have access to cardiologists in 26 dedicated clinics and laboratories who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of more than 120 cardiovascular diseases and conditions. Adult and pediatric cardiologists collaborate to provide integrated, coordinated care for patients of all ages. New diagnostic techniques, drugs and interventions are continuously being introduced into cardiology and vascular medicine. The expertise of the physicians in Mayo's many specialized areas enables the entire Cardiovascular Diseases Division to stay at the leading edge of change in cardiology and vascular medicine.

3..Johns Hopkins Hospital

For generations, people with serious heart problems have turned to Johns Hopkins cardiologists and cardiac surgeons for help. Recognized worldwide, Hopkins cardiologists provide comprehensive care of the highest quality, ensuring that patients receive the most advanced treatments known to medicine. Our cardiology program features expert physicians who diagnose and treat common and rare cardiac diseases. Some of these may include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Angina
  • Heart Failure
  • Cardiomyopathies - dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Sudden death
  • Valvular Heart disease
  • Aortic and Mitral Stenosis
  • Aortic and Mitral Regurgitation
  • Mixed valvular heart disease
  • Inherited Heart Disease

4..Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital

St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, home of Texas Heart® Institute (THI), is an internationally recognized leader in heart care. Together, St. Luke's and THI form one of the world's largest cardiovascular centers, offering a full range of specialty heart programs. Those programs are provided by cardiovascular and cardiology specialists who are among the world's most experienced, operating in one of the most respected research and educational settings in the world.

Why Choose St. Luke's for Heart Care?

Premier heart hospital. U.S. News & World Report has ranked THI at St. Luke's among the nation's top 10 centers for cardiology and heart surgery every year since 1991 when the ranking began. We rank as a top four center for 2011-2012.

Cardiovascular history-maker. St. Luke's has teamed with THI for some of the most important medical achievements in cardiovascular history - including the nation's first successful heart transplant, the world's first total artificial heart transplant, and effective methods of preventing heart attacks by reducing the formation of artery blockages.

Breadth of experience. To date, we have performed more than 250,000 cardiac catheterizations, 115,000 open heart surgeries, and 1,100 heart transplants.

International referral center. We treat the most complex cases, with patients from 85 countries coming to St. Luke's each year for heart care.

5..Massachusetts General Hospital

The Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center has assembled a dedicated team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac nurses and cardiac radiologists to provide leading cardiac care. Our clinicians are some of the world’s foremost experts in diagnosing, treating and preventing heart disease. Each of our 11 condition-specific programs offers a team approach to diagnosis and treatment that involves a multidisciplinary team of physicians who specialize in a particular type of heart condition. In 1916 Massachusetts General Hospital opened one of the first dedicated cardiac units in the nation. Since then, we have made significant contributions to cardiology, including:

  • Developing the first-of-its-kind heart monitor to detect and treat arrhythmias
  • Investigating ways to dissolve blood clots in the coronary arteries of patients with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Pioneering the development of pacemakers
  • Developing minimally invasive techniques, such as opening narrowed heart valves with balloons and closing heart defects with catheters

6..New York Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital brings together renowned expertise in all areas of cardiovascular medicine from both NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, to provide the best patient care and services. In 2011-2012, our program was ranked 6th in the nation in the annual Best Hospitals survey conducted by U.S.News and World Report. To ensure that our patients have access to the most advanced, innovative tools for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, we equip our physicians with the latest technology. We offer the full range of state-of-the-art diagnostic services, including intracoronary ultrasound, cardiac catheterization, electrophysiologic studies, cardiac MRI, PET, SPECT and MUGA scans.

Interventional cardiologists in the Division of Cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and in the Cardiovascular Interventional Therapy Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia offer a full range of cutting edge non-surgical treatment options such as, carotid artery stenting, coronary artery stenting with state-of-the-art drug eluting stents, ablative treatment of arrhythmias, carotid, renal, and peripheral vascular angioplasty, balloon valvuloplasty for mitral and aortic heart valve disease, endovascular treatment of atherosclerosis, alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, and minimally invasive treatment for atrial septal defects.

7..Duke University Medical Center

Among the largest cardiovascular programs in the country, the Duke Division of Cardiology is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching, and research. The division has long excelled in basic science research in all aspects of cardiovascular medicine, and these efforts have markedly expanded in recent years. Their growth coincides with the development of new genomics and genetics initiatives. Research in the clinical sciences is led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), the premier academic research organization worldwide. The predecessor to the DCRI is the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease, which today is the world's oldest and largest compilation of information on the outcomes of heart care. Use of this databank has shaped the practice of cardiology around the world.

8..Brigham and Women’s Hospital

For almost a century, Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been delivering the most innovative and comprehensive care for patients with complex disorders of the heart, blood vessels, and circulation. Today, the new Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center is the most advanced cardiovascular care center of its kind in the region – equipped with the latest technologies and spaces tailored around the needs of our cardiovascular patients and their families. Brigham and Women’s Cardiovascular Center continues to lead the way, with new discoveries and research findings that have been put into practice around the world. Milestones include:

  • The first successful heart valve surgery in the world;
  • Findings on cholesterol and clot-busting drugs;
  • Identification of C-reactive protein.

9..Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

The UCLA Interventional Cardiology Program provides the following services:

  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterization and angiography
  • Coronary angioplasty (PTCA)
  • Cutting balloon angioplasty
  • Coronary stenting
  • Intravascular radiation therapy (brachytherapy)
  • Directional and rotational atherectomy
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
  • Mitral and Aortic Valvuloplasty (PTAV/PTMV)
  • Closure of Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
  • Closure of Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
  • Amplatzer Device
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HOCM) treatment with Alcohol Septal Ablation

10..Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Heart and Vascular combines the renowned expertise of its clinicians, researchers and educators to provide comprehensive, high quality care to all patients, no matter how " high risk" their condition. Penn's expert cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons and subspecialists offer patient-centered care using the most advanced treatment options and therapies available.

  • Penn offers the most comprehensive range of services in the region, including preventative and consultative services, diagnostic imaging and testing, and drug therapy, heart assist devices and surgical treatment options that can found at only a few centers across the country. Penn specialists personalize treatment plans to match the needs of each patient.
  • Penn Heart and Vascular's clinical services take a fully integrated approach to cardiovascular care and disease prevention. They are designed to provide a seamless continuum of care from early prevention strategies to end-stage options.
  • As a high-volume center, Penn heart and vascular specialists routinely perform procedures that may be done only occasionally at other locations. Studies have shown that Centers performing higher volumes of procedures have better patient outcomes.
  • Penn physicians, nurses and clinical staff create a supportive environment for patients. They understand what it's like to be on the patient's side of the table, they listen, and they tailor recommendations and care plans to each patient's individual needs.
  • Penn's cardiovascular clinicians are at the forefront of medicine. Because they teach the next generation of leaders, they are not only well-versed in the latest clinical practices today, but also are developing promising treatment options for tomorrow.
  • As a national leader in basic science, translational research and clinical trials, Penn offers patients access to the latest treatment options before they are widely available elsewhere in the region.
  • Penn's research programs are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and are at the forefront of innovation.
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