Understanding Your Doctor's Role

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As part of your treatment for heart failure, you may work with one or more types of physicians who are trained to help you.

 

The types of doctors who treat you can depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your diagnosis
  • The recommended treatment
  • The office or hospital you visit
  • Where you live
  • Your insurance

General practitioner – This doctor provides care for people of all ages and for a variety of medical conditions. The general practitioner may refer to appropriate specialists.

Internist – An internist is a doctor of internal medicine who focuses on adult medicine and has had special study and training focusing on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases.

Cardiologist – A cardiologist is a doctor with special training and skill in finding, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Electrophysiologist – This is a cardiologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating heart rhythms caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system.

General surgeon – This is a doctor who treats a variety of conditions with surgery.

Cardiac surgeon – This is a surgeon who performs cardiac surgery—operative procedures on the heart.

Interventional cardiologist – This doctor belongs to a subspecialty of cardiology and specializes in catheter-based treatment of coronary artery diseases. From outside the body, they insert various small instruments or tools, such as catheters or wires, using X-ray and other imaging techniques.

Interventional radiologist – An interventional radiologist specializes in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. From outside the body, they insert various small instruments or tools, such as catheters or wires, using X-ray and other imaging techniques. Interventional radiology can be an alternative to surgical treatment.

Last Reviewed: April 25, 2011 V-00304