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Pediatric cardiologists are specialty cardiologists who treat heart diseases and vascular problems in children of all ages from fetuses to teenagers. Pediatric cardiologists are more likely to treat congenital (present at birth) defects than other cardiologists and focus on using minimally invasive techniques for their younger patients.
Currently, there are about 2,000 pediatric cardiologists in the United States.
Pediatric cardiologists, like all cardiologists, are required to complete medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. Cardiology is a specialty medicine, so doctors who want to become cardiologists are required to complete a 2 to 3-year residency program in pediatric medicine that will teach doctors how to diagnose and treat a variety of pediatric diseases. Doctors can focus their pediatric residency on cardiology issues.
After completing a residency program, doctors who want to become pediatric cardiologists will complete a 3-year fellowship program specifically in pediatric cardiology.
All doctors need to have a medical license to practice medicine. Medical licenses are controlled by individual states, so the requirements will vary in each state. A medical license allows doctors to practice any type of medicine in a state but does not show any specific qualifications in a field of medicine.
Pediatric cardiologists are also required to have two different board certifications: one in pediatric medicine and one in pediatric cardiology. Both certifications are through the American Board of Pediatrics. Doctors will need to maintain these certifications by continually demonstrating competency in areas like patient care, professionalism, and medical knowledge, and cognitive expertise. Doctors will also be required to re-take the certification exams.
Where Pediatric Cardiologists Work
Pediatric cardiologists can work in a variety of healthcare settings like hospitals, children’s clinics, and government offices. They can work in private or group practices that are associated with hospitals. Pediatric cardiologists may also work in educational or research settings.
How Pediatric Cardiologists Help People
Pediatric cardiologists treat a wide range of cardiac and cardiovascular conditions in young patients like fetuses, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Though they often focus on congenital heart defects (those that are present at birth), they also treat conditions like rhythm disturbances, heart muscle disorders, hypertension, and other acquired heart disorders.
Congenital heart diseases include an atrial septal defect or having a hole between the upper two chambers of the heart, ventricular septal defect, a hole between the lower two chambers of the heart, and coarctation of the aorta, a constricted main artery.
The two most common acquired heart diseases these doctors treat are rheumatic heart disease and Kawasaki disease. Rheumatic heart disease is caused by rheumatic fever, a result of the virus that causes strep throat. Kawasaki disease has an unknown cause and results in inflamed blood vessels.
Pediatric cardiologists will also treat patients with childhood obesity.
Pediatric cardiologists should be good communicators; they need to be able to effectively communicate with both their young patients and the parents and families of their young patients.
Pediatric cardiologists are problem solvers who are skilled at interpretation data.
A major focus of pediatric cardiologists is to provide minimally invasive treatments that have lower risk rates, lower infection rates, and shorter recovery times for their young, fragile patients.
Pediatric cardiologists work as a part of a larger health care team for their patients and need to properly document treatments and test results and communicate them to other members of the patient’s care team.
Medical Negligence and Pediatric Cardiologists
Pediatric cardiologists treat fragile patients whose developing bodies often have unique reactions to medical conditions making diagnosis and treatment more difficult. Their youngest patients cannot communicate with their doctors about symptoms. This places tremendous responsibility on pediatric cardiologists to provide skilled, efficient care.
Some of the main forms of malpractice in pediatric cardiology are diagnostic errors and poor risk management.
Heart conditions can often appear to stem from another problem, or may not appear serious until it is too late. Pediatric cardiologists who lack the necessary knowledge of cardiac conditions may spend time testing for other conditions leading to a delayed or misdiagnosis.
Pediatric cardiologists manage the treatment for cardiac and cardiovascular conditions in their patients, but as a part of a larger health care team for the patient these doctors must communicate effectively with other members of the health care team. Small errors can have big effects in young patients.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Pediatric cardiology is a complex field of medical malpractice because procedures used in the diagnosis and treatment of children are constantly changing.
If you believe your child has suffered a negligent injury under the care of a pediatric cardiologist, call our offices today to schedule a free consultation. The experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian will review your medical records and determine if there are any instances of malpractice.
Call (800) 529-6162 today to schedule your consultation.