Karen K. Stout, MD, FACC, is Associate Professor of Medicine in Cardiology, Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease program at the University of Washington. She is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Cardiovascular Disease Specialty Board and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Exam Committee.
February is American Heart Month, and we want to take a minute to celebrate ABIM board certified cardiologists for the life-saving work they do every day. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, but research shows that ABIM Board certified cardiologists have lower mortality rates for their patients than non-certified cardiologists.
Patients treated by a board certified internist or cardiologist for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) have a 19% reduced mortality rate than patients treated by anon-certified internist or cardiologist. Similarly, patients treated by a certified interventional cardiologist for percutaneous coronary intervention have decreased risk of mortality and emergency coronary artery bypass surgery than treatment by a non-certified interventional cardiologist.
Cardiology is ABIM’s largest subspecialty with 4 cardiology subspecialties recognizing certification for thousands of physicians serving millions of patients with heart conditions every year. Those subspecialties include: Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD); Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology; Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology; and Interventional Cardiology.
ACHD is ABIM’s newest subspecialty. “Many years ago, the term ‘adult congenital heart disease’ would have been considered an oxymoron, because children with significant congenital heart disease were not surviving into adulthood with this condition,” says Karen Stout, MD, FACC, a member of ABIM’s Cardiovascular Disease Specialty Board and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Exam Committee. “Thanks to medical advancements and a community of doctors who saw a gap that needed to be filled, pediatricians and internists can become certified in ACHD through ABIM in order to serve this unique group of patients who require heart specialists throughout their entire lives.”
We are proud of this distinguished group of cardiologists who differentiate themselves every day through their specialized knowledge and commitment to their patients. The standard of excellence inherent in our profession is embodied in certified physicians like ABIM cardiologists and cardiology subspecialists.
Recommendations for being heart healthy?
- Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. It’s important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals for improving your heart health, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and trust their advice.
- Add exercise to your daily routine with your doctor’s approval. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, three times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, three times each week.
- Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least three times each week and make your favorite recipe lower in sodium by swapping salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.
- Take medication as prescribed. If you’ve been prescribed high blood pressure and cholesterol medications, talk to your doctor about the importance of taking them. If you’re having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you’re having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
- Imaging Tests for Heart Disease
- Echocardiograms for Heart Valve Disease
- Imaging Tests After a Heart Procedure
- Heart Imaging Tests Before Surgery
These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.