Cardiology is the branch of medicine that deals with the study of the heart and the diagnosis and treatment of heart problems and associated heart blood vessels. Cardiologists manage complex conditions such as heart attacks and abnormal heart rhythms and perform diagnostic procedures, ranging in complexity from electrocardiograms to cardiac catheterizations in which a special dye is injected into the arteries to the heart to detect blockage or damage.
Heart problems can stem from general heart weakness or inherited disease to clogged arteries brought about by fatty diets and lack of exercise. Great progress has been made in treating heart problems with advanced procedures such as endoscopic surgery in which clogged arteries are cleared by snaking an endoscope equipped with a balloon-like device through the arteries and inflating the device to improve blood flow in affected arteries. Major advances have also made heart transplants and artificial heart implants increasingly successful, including the implantation of monitoring devices that regulate heart functions. Where heart surgery is concerned, cardiologists often consult with cardiac surgeons.