Pediatric Cardiologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotPediatric cardiologists are doctors who specialize in pediatrics -- the treatment of children. They take additional sub-specialty training in cardiology.

Pediatric cardiologists treat diseases and abnormalities of the heart and circulatory system in children. They are more likely to treat congenital diseases and defects than cardiologists who deal with adults. A congenital condition is one that is present at birth.

dotEnjoying being around children is an important part of being a pediatric cardiologist, says Dr. Cheryl Cammock. She's a pediatric cardiologist at the Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"I love my job in general, working with the kids," says Dr. Cammock. "The rewards are that I get to do something that I really enjoy. Even though it's a lot of hard work, it's worth it for me. I can't picture myself doing anything else, really."

Pediatric cardiologists often do heart catheterizations. In this procedure, a small tube is used to monitor how the heart is doing. The pediatrician can take pictures and help relieve any blockage.

Pediatric cardiologists conduct research on heart disease and disorders involving blood circulation. They also educate students and doctors about heart diseases, blood circulation problems and heart rhythm disorders in babies and children.

dotWhen heart surgery is needed, pediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons work as a team. Pediatric cardiologists work with the patient, family, regular pediatrician and the heart surgeon.

Pediatric cardiologists should have certain personal qualities, says Dr. Robert Campbell. He's the chief of cardiac services at the Sibley Heart Center, in Atlanta, Georgia.

"First and foremost, people skills," says Dr. Campbell. "Number two is empathy. Number three is oftentimes a 'childish' spirit. Number four is intensity to deal with complex congenital heart defects and acquired cardiac disease. Number five would be a personality that I refer to as 'tinker Tommy.' By this I mean someone who is fascinated with procedures, technology, equipment and physiology."

At a Glance

Treat diseases of the heart and circulatory system in children

  • You must enjoy working with children
  • You'll need to take lots of math and science courses
  • It takes many years of training beyond college