What is a Cardiac Surgeon?
A cardiac surgeon is a medical professional who is experienced and skilled in treating heart problems, disorders, diseases, and conditions. They can diagnose certain heart problems and treat them with surgery. They work closely with other medical professionals, such as primary care doctors and cardiologists. Cardiac surgeons often perform surgeries to correct heart problems and heart disease, but they can also work on other areas in the chest.
How does a doctor become a Cardiac Surgeon?
To become a cardiac surgeon, a person must first complete an accredited undergraduate program. Next, they must attend four years of medical school. After medical school, they go on to complete a five-year general surgery residency and a two- to three-year specialized cardiothoracic or cardio fellowship. During the residency and fellowship, they will practice under the supervision of an experienced cardiac surgeon while also continuing to learn and study within the specialty.
What types of diseases do Cardiac Surgeons treat?
Cardiac surgeons commonly treat illnesses, diseases, and disorders that affect the heart and chest. They work closely with other doctors and specialists to find the right treatment and ensure that they are given the best care possible. Some of the most common diseases treated by cardiac surgeons include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart defects
- Peripheral arterial disease
What types of diagnostic tests are ordered by Cardiac Surgeons?
Cardiac surgeons don’t only treat diseases of the heart; they also help diagnose them. They may order certain tests or procedures to help them confirm their diagnosis. In some cases, the cardiac surgeon may perform the tests, and in others, they may order them from other departments. Some common diagnostic tests used by cardiac surgeons include:
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiography exercise stress test
- Stress test with radionuclide imaging
- Coronary angiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Computed tomography
- Cardiac positron emission tomography
- Single photon emission computed tomography
How do Cardiac Surgeons treat heart disease?
Cardiac surgeons generally treat heart disease with surgery. The type of surgery used depends on the patient and the disease or disorder they are suffering from. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery
- Heart valve surgery
- Transmyocardial laser revascularization
- Congenital repairs
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm repair
- Aortic surgery
- Arrhythmia surgery
- Congenital heart surgery
- Heart transplant
- Valvular surgery
- Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR)
- Left ventricular remodeling/surgical ventricular restoration
- Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
When to see a Cardiac Surgeon?
Most people are referred to a cardiac surgeon by their primary care doctor or a cardiologist. Cardiac surgeons do not always perform surgery to make repairs; they can also perform surgeries to help diagnose disorders and diseases. People who commonly see a cardiac surgeon have been diagnosed with a heart disease or heart disorder or have been told that they will need to have cardiac surgery. Most patients also follow up with cardiac surgeons after the procedure is over to ensure that they are recovering properly and that the surgery was successful in treating the disorder or disease.