Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of mortality around the world. Thanks to advanced technology, ongoing clinical trials and state-of-the-art equipment, German doctors show exceptional results in tackling this challenge. The German Heart Society wields great influence on the development of cardiology - it is comprised of more than 10,000 members making it the largest in Europe. Its main goal is to popularise the science of cardiovascular disease, organise medical conventions and conferences and provide advanced qualification and training courses for physicians. The organisation is based in Düsseldorf and has a branch in Berlin.
Its experts are competent in all forms of diseases from classic structural heart anomalies, cardiac decompensation and coronary heart disease to myocardial infarction. Cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, angiologists, physiologists, anesthesiologists and biologists form an interdisciplinary team and work side-by-side to deliver the highest level of medical care.
Specialist centres assist in the areas of cardiovascular surgery, invasive (e.g. coronary artery examination) and non-invasive cardiology (primarily ECG, ECHO-CG). The patient can undergo a rehabilitation course directly at the clinic.
A broad spectrum of surgical methods is used to address heart diseases. These include regular operations such as bypass or valve surgery. Correction of congenital heart defects is less common. The narrowing of coronary vessels sooner or later leads to symptoms of stenocardia or even "heart attack". The only way to prevent this is by bypassing a certain segment of the myocardium.
Where atherosclerosis is encountered, plaque constriction can occur not only in the coronary arteries, but also in the carotid arteries that supply the brain with blood and oxygen. If it is in short supply, the risk of stroke increases. In cardiovascular surgery, such vascular constrictions are treated with the help of small "tubules", so-called stents. Hereditary heart defects often require intervention by surgeons. For example, a defect in the interatrial septum that often takes shape of a congenital opening between two heart chambers. This defect conduces to formation of oxygen-depleted blood and can be removed surgically.
Traditional open-heart surgery requires opening up of the rib-cage. German cardio-surgeons can perform most operations using a tiny camera and just a few small incisions. This type of intervention is much less invasive than the traditional, old methods, and has rendered the term "open heart surgery" practically obsolete in Germany.
In some cases, such as aortic aneurysm, preventive surgery is necessary. This is due to a risk of rupture that can cause excessive bleeding and even death. Cardio-surgeons handle this type of vessels by installing vascular stents and, therefore, mitigate the risk. The most reputable institutions specialising in cardiology are the German Heart Centre Berlin
, the Augusta Hospital
and the Cardiology Centre in Munich