Interventional cardiologists are specially trained heart doctors capable of treating the most advanced heart conditions. These doctors specialize in congenital and acquired diseases of the heart.

Watch an Overview of Interventional Cardiology

About Interventional Cardiology

Physicians that practice interventional cardiology are trained to utilize minimally invasive treatment procedures when diagnosing, treating or managing structural disorders of the heart. These types of disorders may be congenital (existing at birth) or acquired later in life, and require the specialized attention of a physician trained in interventional cardiology.

Interventional cardiologists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of heart-related disorders. These may include cardiogenic shock, heart defects (such as enlarged heart muscles), valve-related disorders (such as stenosis) or congenital heart disease, among other conditions. Patients suffering from these types of conditions seek the attention of an interventional cardiologist to “intervene” in the advancement of the disease, before it causes additional adverse health effects, such as heart failure.

Because no two patients have the same physiology, family history, and current state of health, the interventional cardiologist must create a personalized treatment program for each patient. Depending upon the patient’s unique medical situation, the cardiologist may offer minimally-invasive treatment procedures in an effort at providing the patient with least-stressful treatment. For example, the physician may make a tiny incision in the patient’s leg in order to gain access to the femoral artery, where a catheter may be inserted in order to reach the heart in a minimally-invasive manner. Additional procedures performed by interventional cardiologists include angioplasty, valvuloplasty, patent foramen ovale closure (PFO), and more.

Interventional Cardiology Education & Training

Becoming an interventional cardiologist requires many years of education and training, beginning with graduation from a four year college with a Bachelor’s degree and admission to a licensed medical school. Following graduation from a licensed medical school with a MD or DO degree, an interventional cardiologist must then complete both a three year internal medicine residency and a three year cardiology residency.

Once a resident has completed their training in internal medicine and cardiology, an additional one year interventional cardiology residency requires completion to become an interventional cardiologist. This residency offers advanced training in angioplasty, catheterization and stents, among others.

After the rigorous journey of secondary education, an interventional radiologist must pass the Interventional Cardiology Certification (ICC) exam administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine.