Locating a skilled, experienced, reputable cardiologist is a daunting task in itself, let alone doing so in New York City, the largest metropolitan area in the United States. Whether searching for a cardiologist for yourself or a loved one, it is imperative to know what qualities and qualifications are desirable, as well as necessary. Familiarizing oneself with these considerations can be empowering and offers a distinct advantage over choosing a practitioner based on convenience and location alone.
A cardiologist is a physician who has completed an extensive medical education. This includes an undergraduate degree, followed by four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and an additional three years of specialized training through a fellowship in cardiology, with additional subspecialties such as interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, and transplant cardiology. In short, a cardiologist finds, treats, and prevents disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They are expected to perform and interpret the results of a variety of diagnostic procedures, including, but not limited to, listening to heart sounds, electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, and electrophysiological studies.
Serious heart conditions can manifest rapidly, unpredictably, and with devastating consequences. The reasons for needing to seek the care of a cardiologist are vast and varied. While heart conditions may occur with more prevalence later in life, they can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Some common conditions that warrant a consultation with a doctor who specializes in cardiology are chest pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, being a smoker, and a family history of heart disease. In addition, starting a new exercise program after the age of 40 and having had a difficult pregnancy or one that resulted in preeclampsia are also situations where a cardiologist’s input should be considered.
When choosing a cardiologist, what are some crucial factors to consider? Arguably one of the most important, is that the cardiologist is “Board Certified.” Board certification is a designation awarded by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Renowned cardiologist at Glen Cove Hospital in New York, Dr. Edward Honig, regarding the importance of Board Certification when choosing a cardiologist, stresses, “More than just being a state licensed physician, a Board Certified cardiologist has chosen to demonstrate their expertise by volunteering to complete a rigorous examination and prove maintenance of the latest medical advancements and technology in the field, above and beyond what’s required for state licensure.”
In addition to Board Certification in cardiology, a practitioner’s level of experience should be of utmost concern. Studies have proven that practitioners with more years of experience have fewer complications than that of their younger colleagues. A beloved cardiologist, Dr. Honig is known as much for his compassion and willingness to help as he is for his rich 50 year history practicing in his area of expertise.
Dr. Honig, on the necessity of maintaining heart health and the prevalence of heart disease, encourages a proactive approach. “In the frenetic, fast-paced society in which we live, now, more than ever, we must be diligent about not only preventing heart disease when possible, but identifying and treating it appropriately in an individualized manner.”