Heart Surgeon Career Profile

A Heart Surgeon is also referred to as a Cardiac Surgeon. Cardiology is the field of science that deals with the study of heart, blood vessels and the conditions that affect this great organ. Thus, a heart surgeon is one who specializes in the surgery and operation of the heart, its valves and any other principle related to the cardio vascular system.

Nature of Work

Heart surgeons have a huge load of cases and many complicated surgeries during their career. Therefore, their working hours can be onerous. Sometimes surgery can be at odd hours. It is very common for a surgeon to devote 50 to 60 hours a week to their profession. Heart surgeons are assigned cases that involve coronary artery disease, diseases of the blood vessels, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis and other congenital cardio problems.

Before deciding the scope and strategy of the surgery, a surgeon will have to communicate with the patients, study their case history, diagnose the sources of problem and consult with other physicians or surgeons regarding the particular surgical plan (if surgery is required). It is normal for them to perform surgeries to widen clogged blood vessels (arteries), implant pace makers, heart bypass, repair heart valves and so forth.

Heart surgeons have an opportunity to operate for congenital heart defects like arterial and ventricular septal defects, hypo-plastic left heart, tricuspid valve and so on. There are special pediatric cardiac surgeons for such adolescent cases. They also have to give the case sheet, treatment details and other information related to all of their patients to the database maintenance team for administrative purposes.

Educational Requirement

Four years of medical school will be required along with a five year program in general surgery and a fellowship cardiothoracic surgery. Even after becoming heart surgeons, these doctors must continue the educational process as new technology make this profession a changing one.

Pediatric cardiac surgeons have to complete additional fellowship training. Apart from the educational knowledge they should have exceptional surgical skills, extreme dexterity and astute hand to eye coordination. They should be able to maintain their composure even in critical situations. Careful analysis of the details in the cases is very essential as their mistakes can damage the profession.


A surgeon will need to have a license issued by their respective state in order to begin their practice. Heart surgeons must take medical board examinations separately for practicing general, cardiac or pediatric surgery.

Employment opportunities

There are ample opportunities available for heart surgeons in community hospitals, private hospitals, multi-specialty clinics, academic medical centers and so on.

Income Possibilities

The income of the heart surgeon primarily depends on their experience. The annual median salary for a heart surgeon with 1 to 4 years of experience is between $116,653 and $358,430. For surgeons with 20 or more years of experience, income is between $200,000 and $500,000. The employment growth for this job is expected to grow by 14% by 2016.