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Coronary Artery Disease: Roles of Different Doctors

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What is the role of an interventional cardiologist?

An interventional cardiologist can do a cardiac catheterization. This is an invasive procedure used to take X-rays of your arteries and diagnose any narrowed areas in your coronary arteries. An interventional cardiologist can also do an angioplasty and place stents during a cardiac catheterization to open narrowed or blocked arteries.

What is the role of a cardiac surgeon?

In some people, an open-chest surgery, called bypass surgery, may be recommended to bypass a narrowed or blocked vessel and allow blood to reach the heart.

A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist trained to do this surgery. This type of surgeon may also be called a cardiovascular surgeon or a cardiac surgeon.

What are the roles of other specialists?

If you develop certain CAD-related complications, you may need to see a number of other specialists. For example, you may need to see a nephrologist (kidney specialist) if you develop kidney problems. You may need to see a neurologist (brain and nervous system specialist) if CAD leads to a stroke. Your primary care physician will direct you to the specialists who are skilled in treating your specific condition. You may be referred to the following specialists.

Nurse educator

While primary care physicians serve as central coordinators of care for many people with CAD, nurse educators are valuable resources as well.

Along with serving as a care coordinator, your nurse educator will serve other important functions. For example, he or she may be the first one to help you understand CAD and start your treatment plan. He or she may teach you about the effects of various medicines on your condition and help you with lifestyle changes.

One of the nurse educator's most important roles is to provide you with the information you need about your disease as you are ready to handle it. You will have CAD for the rest of your life. Your nurse educator can be there with the information that you need to adapt to changes in your condition.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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