Aortic Stenosis: Why See a Specialist?
Aortic stenosis is a complex disease that affects everyone differently. That’s why all aortic stenosis patients should follow a specific treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. But your primary care doctor may not have all the information you need to manage your aortic stenosis successfully.
That’s where specialists come in: an aortic stenosis specialist, called a cardiologist, has the right skills and insight to help you stay in control of your aortic stenosis. Here’s why:
A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in treating diseases related to the cardiovascular system, which includes your heart and blood vessels. The cardiovascular system is involved in many aspects of human health, so cardiologists must train extensively to master this area of study. A cardiologist will have expertise in treating aortic stenosis and other conditions related to the heart and blood vessels.
All doctors complete a training program called a residency after they finish medical school. But cardiologists receive considerable training beyond that. Cardiologists spend several additional years in a fellowship, in which they train under experienced cardiologists and focus on patients with aortic stenosis and issues affecting the cardiovascular system. At the end of this period, specialists are qualified to take an exam to become a board-certified cardiologist. Look for a doctor who is board certified in cardiology, and you’ll know you’re seeing an expert.
To maintain their board certifications, cardiologists must keep up with new developments in their field. They must complete continuing education and renew their licenses every few years, depending on the state in which they practice and other factors. By following these requirements, board-certified cardiologists stay on top of new treatments and discoveries about the mechanisms involved in aortic stenosis, so they can then provide their patients with insightful, informed, and up-to-date treatment plans. This is especially important for aortic stenosis patients, as new valve replacement options, like transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), have become available in recent years.
Cardiologists see a higher volume and concentration of patients with aortic stenosis, and thus are more experienced in treating the condition successfully. Because they see lots of patients with aortic stenosis, they can add real-world knowledge of the disease to their academic and clinical training. They’re able to assess how well patients respond to certain treatments, have a deeper understanding of how aortic stenosis progresses over time, share insight about effectively implementing lifestyle changes, and recognize symptoms that a general practitioner may miss, among other skills.
Cardiologists work with teams of other health care providers who treat patients with aortic stenosis and can connect patients with interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons who can perform TAVR and open-heart surgery, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and other experts in aortic stenosis management. Working with a team can help patients address all aspects of the disease and ensure success.
There are thousands of cardiologists in the United States, so how do you know which is the right doctor for you? By searching on Healthgrades.com, you can identify the best cardiologist to help you manage your aortic stenosis successfully.