This page provides some background information to help you understand what a cardiologist is and whether is the right specialist for you.

If you native language is Italian and you find easier to speak to a doctor in your mother-tongue, please check out our directory of Italian speaking cardiologists in London and the UK

A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases and heart abnormalities, including issues affecting the blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries).

To be qualified to practice as a cardiologist, it is necessary to complete a degree in medicine, followed by a two-year foundation programme which specialises in cardiology. Some doctors might choose to specialise even further and become a paediatric cardiologist (therefore working with children) or a cardiac surgeon.

A visit carried out by a cardiologist usually starts with investigating the medical background of the patient (which is very important for those people who need to determine their risk of developing a particular condition).

The main cardiovascular conditions that are diagnosed and treated by a cardiologist are:

  • Aneurysm;

  • Angina;

  • Arrhythmia;

  • Atherosclerosis;

  • Atrial fibrillation;

  • Bradycardia;

  • Cardiomyopathy;

  • Chest pain;

  • Congestive heart failure;

  • Coronary artery disease;

  • Heart attack;

  • Heart murmur;

  • Hypertension.

To help the consultant to choose an appropriate treatment, the visit involves a physical examination and further investigations, which might include non-invasive tests (such as: electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, Holter monitor, exercise stress testing, event monitor and echocardiogram) and invasive ones (such as: blood tests, coronary catheterization, angiograms and angiocardiography).

Amongst the treatments and procedures that the consultant might opt for there are: prescription of the appropriate medication, heart valve repair or replacement, angioplasty, cardiac rehabilitation, pacemakers, ventricular assist device and bypass graft.