What is a cardiologist?
A cardiologist is a medical doctor with special training and skills in diagnosing and treating problems with the heart, arteries and veins. Cardiologists work in public and private hospitals and private practice.
Paediatric cardiologists specialise in looking after infants and children.
If your child has health or development concerns, health professionals like cardiologists are there to care for your child and help you understand your child’s condition and treatment. With the support and expertise of these professionals, you can help your child thrive.
Seeing a cardiologist: what to expect
When your child sees a cardiologist, the cardiologist might do tests to identify the problem with your child’s heart. The main medical test cardiologists use is an echocardiogram. Sometimes, the cardiologist might also use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerised tomography (CT).
If your child needs heart surgery, your cardiologist might work closely with a cardiothoracic surgeon.
If you’re worried about your child’s heart, start by seeing your GP. Your GP will refer your child to a cardiologist or to a hospital emergency service if needed.
Before going to a cardiologist
Before seeing the cardiologist, it’s a good idea to find out some information about the following things:
- Why you’re going to the cardiologist: talk with your GP about why your child needs to see a cardiologist and whether there’s anything you can do while you’re waiting for the appointment.
- Appointments: do you need to make the appointment or will the GP make it for you?
- Waiting lists: how long before you can get an appointment to see the cardiologist?
- Is there anything you can do while you’re waiting for the appointment – for example, can your child start some treatment or therapy?
- Costs: how much will the appointment with the cardiologist cost? It might be expensive, so you could check whether you’re eligible for Medicare, private health insurance or another rebate.
- Locations: find out where you have to go to see the cardiologist – for example, a public or private hospital, or consulting rooms. You might have to travel further than you expect, depending on your child’s needs.
You can ask your GP these and any other questions before you go to the cardiologist. You could also ask the cardiology clinic when you make the appointment. It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have, so you don’t forget.