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Intelligent Questions to ask a Cardiologist?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by iPremed, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. iPremed

    2+ Year Member

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    I am shadowing a cardiologist this winter break and was wondering what types of questions to ask besides the usual general ones...?

    The department is well known for cardiac transplants.

    I am trying to get to see some open heart surgeries but since it is the holiday season, not much is going on.
     
  2. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Cardiologists don't do surgery. They refer to surgeons who are generally specialists in heart surgery or chest (thorasic) surgery.

    Some cardiologists do procedures to correct abnormal rhythms, clear clogged arteries, monitor patients during stress tests, read cardiac MRIs, echocardiograms and other diagnostic imaging tests as well as ECGs (measuring the electrical activity of the heart muscle).

    What are the most difficult situations to control? How do you break bad news? What is the most satisfying part of your job? What is the most frustrating?
     
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  3. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
    Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Are you called a cardiologist because you make patients run on a treadmill all day?

    :D
     
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  4. rocketbooster

    rocketbooster Membership Revoked
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    ask him/her about the difference between an angioplasty, caths, stents etc. and how each procedure works. ask about where they make incisions for such procedures. ask when do they have to refer the patient to a heart surgeon (in other words, to what extent will stents or an angioplasty not open up the blockage). ask about what kinds of complications do they run into during the procedures. ask what their favorite part of the job is...i.e. clinic days, hospital days, and so forth. ask "i've heard more and more cardiologists are putting in pacemakers...do you and what's the procedure behind it?" ask what his/her schedule is like. how many hours they work a week. do they work alone or in a group and why. ask about the specifics of a treadmill test, EKG, etc. if you're interested, ask if they have ever had to run tests for any professional teams (as sports teams require the athletes to have frequent visits with cardiologists). ask about the process it took for them to become a cardiologist. ask about the difference between an invasive, non-invasive, and interventional cardiologist and the path to become each.

    okay, I think that's enough questions. :thumbup:
     
    #4 rocketbooster, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  5. eight sat up

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    You could ask about the medical managment of transplant patients post surgery
     
  6. doctor712

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    ...Don't forget percutaneous valve repairs!

    I think LizzyM gives great advice. I have to share an anecdotal thought though. So many times I would read up on the procedure the night before shadowing (if I know what's going on the next day). Why? a) If I'm shadowing you, I'm way interested in what you do b) I like to know things that I don't already know c) I don't want the heart doctor to ask me something really basic and for me to blow it, "So what vessel feeds the Right Atrium Mr. 712?" and have NO idea of the answer. So, I cover the basically basic basics. The result? 99.9% of the time, nothing ever comes up in the realm of what I'm reading. Actually, it comes up on morning rounds, or with a resident on a case, but not with me. :D So, it NEVER hurts to read and ask for the sake of asking, but it will only get you so much if you are only asking to ask. In other words, questions are good if you're well read and truly interested, but not necessarily randomly tossed in so you can NOT sound foolish as you say.

    Two cases come to mind. I was in LA volunteering at an ER and a doc was pimping a med student. It was rough to watch, he was harsh. He's getting angry at her for not knowing the normal ranges of a WBC. I really wanted to answer, I knew the answer ( I had just had labs done on my own blood and I recalled the range) , and I thought to myself, "I don't want to be in that position of looking lost." I didn't like the feeling that young student was going through. It felt really bad for her probably because I had been in those shoes before. It wasn't pleasant and it was a learning experience for me: know what you are capable of and expected to know. Period. Nobody is EXPECTING you to know things as a premed student, but I say to myself, it can't hurt. Actually, those words have been said to me, "We don't expect you to know anything..."

    More recently, at my new spot, I read up on EKGs for morning rounds i was shadowing on that next day. The residents were grilled and I had maybe one answer in my pocket out of the 100 that were asked. Whew. It was rough. So, that night when the doc said it was nice to have me there, I said, jokingly, "Next time, I'm ready to point to the T wave myself, so please count me in!" In my mind, you get nowhere without throwing your neck out there. So, we'll see if he does that next time! I'll be the fall guy if I learn something. I don't care just yet. The DOC is nice, and brilliant. Not sure I would do this with a hard *****.

    And most recently, I was shadowing anesthesia, my passion, and a REALLY cool doc who has become a friend (our kids play soccer against one another) asked me, "So, how many CCs do you use in the cuff to keep the ETT from leaking?" Well, I QUICKLY remembered an SDN thread about just this, and I shot out the answer, 15CCs!!!!! The Doc was great, he LAUGHED, FIFTEEEN CCS!!!!!!?????? So, I went down, 10CCs????? We were both laughing at the time. 10, are you sure, he replied???? 5!!!! I went down more! He then taught me the lesson, which I'll share. And ONLY at this POINT after the initial question, did I think enough to know the answer, but it was too late, he was teaching me now: Listen to her mouth, hear that air leaking back out? Yes. I did. He said, tell me when it stops as I put in CCs of air to the cuff. I listened, "It's stopped." He said, "You know how many CCs now?" He asked a resident nearby for the avg number: 7ccs. But I jumped in again, now having time to think and not just throw out a number to get it right, "HOW EVER many CCs it takes to stop hearing a leak from the tube is the answer..." And that was the answer!!!! Sure I felt stupid for a minute, but hey, I'm just learning. The moral of the story? This is what teaching and academic medicine and MED SCHOOL is all about. Questions and answers and learning by doing and seeing and watching and being there. So, read up, be interested and be involved. It can only help. Ask questions because you TRULY WANT to know, not to impress. We ain't there yet, per se.

    Doctor 712
     
  7. rocketbooster

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    here's something interesting: cardiologists only perform this procedure in highly populated areas. experience is very important with this procedure and in smaller cities (I'm talking 300k ppl cities) there are usually not enough patients who need it. therefore, the cardiologists do not have much experience with the procedure and do not perform it.

    you can also ask about a new procedure for valve repairs that is currently in research and not approved yet. it's replacing entire valves with pig/cow valves through stents. the stents hold the new valve in place and all of this is done by going through the groan! it's as small as an incision as for an ordinary angioplasty or stent procedure. ask for his/her opinion on that procedure and if he/she would want to be trained to perform it him/herself if/when it's approved.
     
    #7 rocketbooster, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  8. 236116

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    Oh god, Trapper Keepers.

    I feel old.

    ALSO OMG IT'S STENT. (yes i know technically stint is a variation on stent but omg.)
     
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  9. lovedocta07

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    talk about new methods for caths, upcoming research, maybe stem cells, cardiology clinic gets a little repetitive
     
  10. Forthegood

    Forthegood ProcrastinationAficionado
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    Ask questions about what they are doing.

    Seriously, trying to prep so you sound like you are educated in the field is kind of a joke. Really, this person has dedicated their life to studying this topic and still does not know it all. They certainly don't expect you to either.

    Just be nice, courteous, and interested. The "intelligent questions" will come if you can manage that.
     
  11. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If laughter is the best medicine, I'm in luck. You've made my day. :laugh:
     
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  12. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    ask him if he's heard the joke about the heart surgeon and the obgyn
     

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