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Preparing Our Students for The World of Cardiology

February 09, 2021
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Cardiovascular Disease remains the most common cause of mortality, and morbidity, in the United States. This has led to the outpouring of research funds to combat cardiovascular problems, resulting in an expansion of our knowledge of cardiovascular diseases and the robust development of the advances in technology in Echocardiography, CT Scans, MRI, etc.

Of all the medical specialties, Cardiology has indeed grown exponentially throughout the years. This is reflected in the fact that it is the only specialty with two huge national organizations: The American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association, holding two separate national meetings every year, plus the many regional meetings that they sponsor, addressing various cardiovascular issues and techniques. Indeed, the specialty has gained so much sophistication that the discipline has been split up into many subspecialties like Invasive Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Lipidology, Heart Failure, and now even linking with Oncology.

Recognizing all these developments, Saint James School of Medicine is offering a four-week elective rotation in Cardiology. Our students will enroll with private cardiology offices that belong to our affiliated hospitals, with an opportunity to see patients in an outpatient and inpatient setting. The four-week rotations expose the student to various diseases of study: Coronary Artery Disease, Myocarditis (COVID-19), Peripheral Vascular Disease, Rhythm disturbances, etc. The student will learn how to modify risk factors like better blood pressure control, or better lipid levels with the appropriate practical measures like daily weight, restriction of salt intake, or saturated fats.

Our students have an opportunity to hone in on their knowledge on diagnostic tests, especially interpreting electrocardiograms. We look to provide our students with the confidence, skills and knowledge to successfully identify the EKG features of Myocardial Infarction, atrial fibrillation, and right or left bundle branch blockage. All of which may resurface as questions in the USMLE Step 2 CK exam.

The student doing this rotation will improve their clinical knowledge and clinical skills. They will have a more thoughtful approach in obtaining a good clinical history, and more importantly, gain confidence in doing a careful heart examination with an appreciation of heart sounds and murmurs, and how to elicit them. The rotation in Cardiology should be an attractive elective rotation for all students regardless of their special interest, but perhaps will appeal more to those interested in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Family Practice.

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