Your Cardiovascular Care Team

A primary care physician, such as your family doctor, an internist, or an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB-GYN), may be the first to determine that you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to recommend tests or treatments. Your primary care physician might recommend undergoing tests to assess your cardiovascular health further. Depending on your health status, your primary care physician may recommend lifestyle changes, prescribe medications, and/or refer you to a cardiologist for further diagnosis and treatment.

If referred to a specialist, your primary care physician will remain a part of your care team. Keeping your heart and arteries healthy is truly a team effort. If necessary, your care team will involve diverse medical professionals working with you on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. These professionals must communicate to be sure you’re receiving the most appropriate care. Throughout this process, your primary care physician will continue to be important in coordinating your care with specialists and various support teams.

While your primary care physician remains constant, other care team members will vary depending on the severity of your risk factors and the recommended treatment types.

Various healthcare professionals will make up your cardiovascular care team, including the following:

  • Primary care team
  • Cardiologist
  • Interventional cardiologist
  • Cath lab team
  • Cardiovascular surgeon
  • Vascular specialist

You, too, must be an active member of your care team. You’re the most important member of the team. Patients find that actively participating in their care ultimately enhances their satisfaction with their health care and outcomes.

One great way to participate in your care is to learn more about cardiovascular health, tests, prevention strategies, and treatment options.

A second way to stay actively engaged in your care is to be prepared to ask informed questions of your providers. Throughout the SecondsCount website, you’ll find suggestions for questions to ask your doctor, which are tailored to specific conditions, tests, and treatments. Feel free to print these questions and take them with you when you go to appointments.