Cardiology involves the care of patients with heart disease, involving all ages from prenatal diagnosis to end-of-life care. Much of the work of cardiologists is the management of patients with clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease and this includes clinical syndromes such as angina and heart attack. Management can involve interventional treatment, including opening up of occluded arteries, improving blood supply using percutaneous or surgical techniques, and the management of cardiac rhythm disorders and heart failure (including pacemaker implantation). 

Subspecialties include cardiac imaging, heart failure, interventional cardiology and congenital heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation. Much has been achieved in improving acute outcomes both in survival and in quality of life following heart attack, heart failure, or heart rhythm disorders. More remains to be done in understanding disease processes and in preventing the development of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiology has a strong multiprofessional approach, involving close collaborations with cardiac and cardiothoracic surgeons, specialist nurses, and cardiac physiological measurement technicians. Prevention and early detection of heart disease are of critical importance and this involves working with other hospital specialties and primary care physicians.

Related RCP publications

Map of Medicine

The RCP has been working with Map of Medicine (registration required) since 2008 to produce web-based knowledge support tools. There are 300 evidence-based clinical care maps covering all major areas of healthcare; including care maps for specific specialties. In this specialty, the RCP accredits the following pathways:

Care map Specialty Date of expiry
Dyslipidaemia Cardiology 27 January 2012
BradyarrhythmiasCardiology28 February 2014
Stable anginaCardiology28 February 2015

Specialty training

For information about specialty training in cardiology, please visit the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Postgraduate Training Board (JRCPTB) website.

Specialist societies and organisations

2011 Consultant Census

The RCP has completed our census of working physicians in 2011. Attached below is a breakdown of the report with results for this specialty.

Patient information