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Get To Know Your Heart Doctors

Do you know which doctors to approach for a heart check? Your primary physician may refer you to a general cardiologist, or you may directly request a consultation with one if you experience these heart disease symptoms: 

Heart Attack

Chest pain or discomfort
Upper back or neck pain
Nausea or vomiting
Extreme fatigue
Upper body
Shortness of breath 


Palpitations or the heart beating too fast for a prolonged time period

Heart Failure 

Shortness of breath
Swelling of the lower limbs, abdomen or neck veins.

Other heart specialists may get involved in your heart care depending on the results of your health assessments, risk factors, preferences and other medical recommendations. Here are some of these specialists:

General Cardiologists

• Diagnose and treat conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels.
• Perform physical examinations and other tests to evaluate a patient’s heart health and function.
• Make recommendations on lifestyle changes, medications and procedures to improve your heart health.

Cardiac Imaging Specialists

• Use advanced imaging techniques to diagnose heart diseases.

Interventional Cardiologists

• Perform minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures to treat coronary artery, valve, peripheral and carotid artery diseases, especially for patients who cannot undergo traditional open-heart surgery due to their general health conditions.

Heart Valve Specialists

• Specialize in diagnosing and treating heart valve problems that may result in the heart having to pump harder to supply enough blood throughout the body.


• Specialize in diagnosing unusual heart rhythms and electrical activity.
• Test cardiac electrical activity to diagnose the source of irregular heartbeats and help determine a suitable treatment.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialists

• Provide medically supervised, individualized education and exercise programs to improve a patient’s cardiovascular health.
• If needed, they work with social workers or psychiatrists to provide emotional support to patients.

Cardiothoracic Surgeons

• Specialize in surgical procedures on the lungs, heart, esophagus and other organs found from the collarbone to the diaphragm.

Here are the types of cardiothoracic surgeons, along with the cardiothoracic conditions they treat:

Cardiac or cardiovascular surgeons: General thoracic surgeons:  Congenital heart surgeons:
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Lung Cancer
  • Atrial septal defects
  • Blockages in the heart valve(s)
  • Severe emphysema
  • Ventricular septal defects
  • Leaking heart valve(s)
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Aneurysms of the large arteries in the chest
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hypoplastic left or right heart syndrome
  • Heart failure
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Swallowing disorders such as achalasia


Your heartcare team will work together with you to evaluate the appropriate approach for your condition, whether you need medicine, a minimally invasive procedure, surgery or mere lifestyle changes. They will assess your risk factors, current health, results from diagnostic tests, preferences and other factors. The first step is to consult with a general cardiologist or primary care physician to determine whether you need a referral to other heart specialists.

American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention