A healthy heart is vital to a healthy and long life. Like all complex organs, many things can go wrong with the heart, and many a time, the signs that something is wrong may not always be visible. A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing heart-related problems. Today we dive into the details of what invasive, non-invasive, and interventional cardiology is.

What Is Invasive and Non-Invasive Cardiology?

Cardiology is a part of medicine which deals with the diagnosis, care, and study of the cardiovascular system. Since the heart is a complex organ study in a diagnosis process, a cardiologist has to analyze many variables when recognizing what is causing the problem in the heart.

There are two main types of cardiology:

  1. Invasive
  2. Non-Invasive

What Is Invasive Cardiology?

Invasive cardiology (also known as interventional cardiology) is a minimally invasive procedure for identifying the anomalies of the human heart. Invasive cardiology processes are generally minor surgeries that require breaking into the skin of the patient for treatment.

Invasive cardiologists perform a variety of marginally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. which include:

Procedures Involving Cardiac Catheterization

In a cardiac catheterization procedure, a cardiologist guides a catheter (a catheter is a medical-grade thin tube used for a broad range of functions in the medical field) to the heart to complete diagnostic tests and conduct treatment procedures as follows.

  • Balloon angioplasty: A catheter is guided by the cardiologist with a tiny balloon at its tip to the affected artery. The plaque is pushed against the artery wall by inflating the balloon against it helping restore blood flow in the artery.
  • Catheter ablation: Here, a catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy (It is comparable to microwave energy) to eradicate a tiny part of heart tissue that is causing accelerated and irregular heartbeats. Destroying this tissue helps heal your heart’s regular rhythm. This procedure solves the issue that originates in the pulmonary veins.
  • Coronary stents: A catheter is employed to inject a little, net-shaped metal tube at the area of the constricted coronary artery. Medications can also be carried into the heart via the stents that can reduce the risk of the blockage of the artery.

Electrophysiology Studies

Utilizing a catheter with electrodes on its tip, a cardiologist measures the heart’s electrical impulses, pinpoints the injured heart muscle’s precise location, and administers tiny electric impulses to affect heart rhythm problems to learn more about them.

Electrical Cardioversion Procedure

Utilizing a low-voltage electric current delivered to the chest by patches or paddles, a cardiologist can reset the heart rhythm to an average pace. The procedure is used in conjunction with a short-acting anesthetic.

Embedded Devices

Modern cardiologists employ several small battery-operated devices that can be implanted near the heart to treat complex heart rhythm disorders. Some of the tools that are used are:

  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): ICDs constantly monitor cardiac rhythm and deliver an electric current to regulate it when abnormalities are detected. The current is calibrated by the device to react differently when the rhythm is required to be slowed down or when defibrillation is required to restore the heart to a stable rhythm.
  • Implantable pacemaker: These pacemakers help prevent the heart from going below the recommended pulse. Pacemakers also include heart rhythm sensors that can track and stabilize the pulse as required.

Moreover, the invasive approach is performed to treat

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Coronary angiography
  • Electrophysiology studies
  • Arrhythmia ablation
  • Valve replacement surgery right heart catheterization permanent pacemaker insertion
  • Automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators (acids) and more

What Is Non-Invasive Cardiology?

Non-invasive cardiology procedures recognize heart problems without the application of fluids, needles, or other instruments into the body.

The non-invasive procedure usually includes external tests rather than any insertion of needles, fluids, or other medical instruments for the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases, heart ailments, or other cardiac diseases. This specialty limits further medical complexities for the heart. It does not require any breakage of skin.

Non-invasive procedures are simple. It is as simple as listening to a heartbeat, taking blood pressure readings, and monitoring the pulse during physical exercise with instruments being non-invasive to perform such tasks. This assessment is useful in cases where patients are suspected of having chest pain, clogged artery, or other histories of heart ailments.

The advantage of non- invasive cardiology over the latter is the avoidance of scar and Post-operative recovery. Additionally, non- invasive cardiology procedure of primary angioplasty is now the standard of excellence of care for acute myocardial infarction.

Non-Invasive Cardiology Tests

Here are some of the tests a non-invasive cardiologist employs to identify issues.

  • Chest X-Ray

An X-ray test can help doctors diagnose and monitor conditions such as heart failure, pneumonia, lung cancer, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and fibrosis. Doctors also use chest X-rays to see how treatments are working and to check for any complications after a patient has undergone surgeries or specific procedures.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG)

Electrocardiogram test records the electrical activity of your heart to conclude if you’ve had a heart attack or if one is developing to have one. It also detects changes in your heart’s rhythm, which helps doctors identify intricacies.

  • Computer Imaging

Computer Imaging could be in the form of a CT or CAT scan or an MRI. The computer generates a three-dimensional image that can help show blockages in the heart caused by a heart condition or by calcium deposits you may have in your arteries. It can also detect pulmonary embolism or other heart ailments or cardiovascular diseases.

  • Exercise Stress Test
  • Treadmill Test
  • Exercise Cardiac Stress Test
  • General Exercise Test

These tests are performed to check aspects such as:

  • Breathing
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Endurance

The test can diagnose several heart problems, including coronary artery disease or the possible cause of chest pain. It could also merely determine your safe level of exercise, especially if you have already had heart surgery.

Nuclear Heart Scan

Nuclear heart scan is a similar test to a standard exercise stress test, but it is performed with photos of the heart in action. Patients will receive a dye injection to make issues more visible before starting the test. The images can help find blockages, measure blood flow, or identify heart muscle damage from a heart attack.

Treatment Based on Results

If your cardiologist notices something is wrong, you’ll get a set of dietary and nutritional recommendations and lifestyle changes that you’ll have to incorporate. People with heart disease can be healthy with the proper testing and management plan. These plans may also include medications, Meditation, and other relaxation methods on top of the dietary and lifestyle changes, as previously mentioned. If the situation is not curable with the means indicated above, the non-invasive cardiologist refers the patient to a specialist who can treat them.

An invasive cardiologist, on the other hand, will offer surgery and other treatments in addition to medication and the lifestyle, as mentioned earlier, these changes could cure the ailment that the patient faces.

Responsibilities of Non-Invasive Cardiologists Vs. Invasive Cardiologists

Non-invasive cardiologists and invasive cardiologists both spend time helping patients. Cardiologists focus more time to come up with preventative strategies to assist patients and stop cardiovascular conditions from occurring. Cardiologists who treat patients with severe conditions will refer them to an interventional cardiologist for further treatment.

Consequently, interventional cardiologists typically spend most of their time performing tests and procedures on these patients, As listed earlier.

Non-Invasive Cardiologists

Non-invasive cardiologists are required to complete an internal medicine residency program after they have completed their medical degree. However, post-residency, they are obligated to spend two years completing a fellowship in cardiology. The standard procedure for cardiologists is to serve as a non-invasive cardiologist and focus on running pre-diagnostic tests and treating patients.

Those who train to become invasive cardiologists may conduct similar work with cases but are also able to perform medical tests to find arterial blockages. However, invasive, non-interventional cardiologists do not complete the same procedures that interventional cardiologists do.

Responsibilities of a Non-Invasive Cardiologist

  • Assessing patients’ heart and cardiovascular health care issues
  • Referring patients to other specialists
  • Interpreting the results of EKGs and other electronic tests
  • conducting cardiac catheterizations

Responsibilities of an Invasive Cardiologists

Invasive cardiologists spend three years completing a fellowship in interventional cardiology after they have graduated from schools of medicine, finished a residency in internal medicine, and also finished a prior fellowship in cardiology. Interventional cardiologists typically work in hospitals and may work any time of the day or night during weekends or weekdays. They may treat patients with conditions such as heart disease or blocked arteries. Interventional cardiologists need to have excellent interaction and leadership skills so they can efficiently work with other medical specialists while performing procedures. They also benefit from having physical stamina and ability, since they may spend a lot of time standing, and processes often require precision.

Job responsibilities of interventional cardiologist include:

  • Reviewing referrals
  • Explaining procedures to patients
  • Performing procedures such as repairing valves and embedding stents into arteries
  • Handling follow-ups with patients after the treatment is complete

Prospect of Invasive and Non-invasive Cardiologists in India

Job Title Educational Requirements Average Salary* Job Outlook (2016–2026)^
Cardiologists Med school degree; residency; fellowship ₹1,510,586   3.7%
Invasive Cardiologists Med school degree; residency; fellowship; additional fellowship(optional) ₹2,424,185 3.7%

Sources: *PayScale.com; ^The Relevance of National Interventional Council

Demand for Cardiologists in India

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in India. Over two million people lost their lives in 2008 due to cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that around 32 million people suffer from cardiovascular diseases in India.

India is also a medical hub for patients from surrounding nations due to its low cost; around 500,000 patients seek medical care in India every year. According to estimates by Deccan Herald and Business Today, the requirement of the cardiologist is about 88,000, while the annual supply of cardiology medical students is only four thousand candidates. It suffices to say that the demand for cardiologists is the need of the hour.

Consider Texila American University

As one of the top Private Universities, Texila American University’s (Texila’s) priority is to bring a revolution in international medical education. To achieve this, we have collaborated with some of the top-rated cardiac hospitals in India.

Texila’s Fellowship in Non-Invasive Cardiology program features a unique hands-on training module that will provide students with the best training possible. Through our intensive and well-conceived curriculum, we aim to prepare our students for an immensely satisfying and lucrative career in Non-Invasive cardiology.

Why Choose Texila?

  • International curriculum with e-material access
  • Earn an attractive stipend while you study
  • Opportunity to learn a faculty-driven program in one of the top medical schools 
  • This program offers to get proper exposure in the field of cardiology and allows the students to get hands-on training programs in world-class hospitals
  • Rotations in departments where required
  • Guided by educational consultants
  • Review of contemporary articles in the concerned subject

With this article, we hope that you understand the difference between invasive and non-invasive cardiology and its importance in the medical field and the lives of those who suffer from cardiovascular disease.

Join Texila

To study at some of the top-rated cardiac hospitals in India. Also, Earn attractive stipend while you study

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Invasive Vs. Non-Invasive Cardiology: A Comprehensive Study A healthy heart is vital to a healthy and long life. Like all complex organs, many things can go wrong with the heart, and many a time, the signs that something is wrong may not always be visible. A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing heart-related problems. Today we dive into the details […]
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