Paediatric cardiologists diagnose and treat children with heart conditions before they are born, through childhood and into adulthood.

Your patients will be infants and children with complex diagnostic and medical problems, and you’ll work closely with specialist colleagues in a multidisciplinary team.

Life as a doctor in paediatric cardiology

As well as being an expert in heart disease, you’ll also need a thorough grounding in general paediatrics. You’ll work closely with your patient’s family to explain complicated procedures and support and reassure them.

You’ll use a range of advanced scanning and diagnostic techniques to assess conditions such as foetal cardiac abnormalities in the womb, heart failure in children and heart murmurs. You’ll diagnose and treat conditions such as congenital heart disease that is present at birth, variations in heartbeat rhythms (arrhythmias) and problems with circulatory function. In some cases, a heart transplant may be required.

You’ll be based in a regional centre which could be part of a paediatric hospital, congenital cardiac unit or major cardiothoracic centre. Most centres hold joint outreach clinics with linked district hospitals in their areas.
You’ll work longer hours than in most medical specialties because of the complex nature of the work. This includes a significant on-call commitment as patients are often admitted at night or have urgent post-operative needs.

What are my chances of starting a career in paediatric cardiology?

In 2021, there were 135 paediatric cardiology consultants working in the NHS in England. In addition, there were 35 applications for six specialty training places.

How to become a doctor in paediatric cardiology

After medical school, you’ll join the paid two-year foundation programme where you’ll work in six placements in different settings.

After your foundation programme, you can apply for paid specialty training to become a doctor in paediatric cardiology, which will take a minimum of eight years.

You may be able to train part time, for example for health reasons or if you have family or caring responsibilities.
See Paediatric Cardiology in India.