Most of us hope that we will never need a cardiologist in our lifetime. However, heart problems are still one of the leading causes of death worldwide, which means that it is likely you, or someone you know, will need a cardiologist at some point. Many people feel that it could be beneficial to be prepared before something happens. Hence, while you don’t need one now, looking for the best cardiologist in Los Angeles so you have their details on file could be a good idea. But what should you look for in a cardiologist?
Naturally, a good cardiologist is fully licensed and certified in their field. However, they often have sub-specializations, such as nuclear or interventional cardiology as well. You may want to search hospital databases or contact your state medical board to find a cardiologist with the specialization most relevant to you. These databases include the medical school they went to, which hospital they trained with, what additional certifications they have, whether they have been sued for malpractice and more. Those who are listed with the Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC) are classed as the best of the best.
Location is also very important. Good cardiologists will work for very good hospitals. Hospitals use a range of rating services and one of the best ones is the one offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Here, you will see a hospital’s cardiac statistics as well.
It is critical that your cardiologist is highly experienced. Hence, always ask your doctor how often they have completed a certain procedure or surgery. In 2005, a study looked at 1,500 cardiologists who implanted cardiac defibrillators, looking at a three year period. It was found that doctors who had performed the surgery less than 10 times had 60% more patients with complications in the first three months. Those with the least complications had performed the surgery 29 times or more.
The gender of your cardiologist is probably not important, but your own gender is. Women and men have very different heart attack and heart disease symptoms. This is mainly due to the fact that their bodies respond in different ways to high blood pressure and other risk factors. This is why you should always ask whether your cardiologist has received any additional training in terms of the difference between women and men. Additionally, this training should have been as recent as possible. This is because medical science always changes. There are even some cardiologists who specialize in one gender in particular.
The final, and perhaps most important element is communication. You must be able to speak with your cardiologist and feel safe and comfortable in their presence and care. Indeed, this is equally important as their credentials. Hence, before you go see your specialist, prepare a list of questions and measure not just their responses, but also their willingness to answer your questions. They should also speak in a language that you understand.