5 Tips for Finding the Best Cardiologist for You

  • Experience: A cardiologist's level of experience is critical, especially when it comes to a specific technology or procedure. Don't hesitate to ask a doctor how many times he or she has performed a surgery that you may be a candidate for. A 2005 study of more than 1,500 doctors who implanted cardiac defibrillators in their patients over a three-year period found that the rate of complications within three months of the surgery was roughly 60% higher for doctors who had implanted fewer than 10 of the devices than for doctors who'd implanted more than 29.

  • Gender: Your own gender, that is. Women tend to have different symptoms of heart disease and heart attack than men, in part because their bodies respond differently to risk factors such as high blood pressure. Cassak recommends asking a cardiologist about the extent of the training he or she has had specifically related to women's health—and when it took place. Women may want to seek out a specialist who is up-to-date in this emerging field of research. Cardiologists who specialize in women are more common than ever, and many hospitals—from the Mayo Clinic to small regional health centers—now have special clinics devoted to women's heart health.

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Lead writer: Ray Hainer
Last Updated: May 02, 2008

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