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physician credentials

Physician Credentials: Acronyms and What They Mean for Atrial Fibrillation Patients

While researching EPs who treat A-Fib, you will notice acronyms indicating the physician’s credentials and certifications. Besides the familiar “MD”, you may see one or more common designations following a physician’s name. Here’s what they stand for, and read below what they mean to an A-Fib patient.

Legend to Acronyms

FACC    Fellow of the American College of Cardiology
FHRS    Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society
FAHA   
Fellow of the American Heart Association
CEPS    Certified Electrophysiology Specialist
CCDS   Certified Cardiac Device Specialist
DO       Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
MBBS/MBChB/BMBS  Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery
Castle Connolly Top Doctor EPs selected after peer nomination, extensive research, screening and review

FACC Fellow of the American College of Cardiology: Designates a Cardiologist who has completed a minimum of ten years of clinical and educational preparation and passed a rigorous two-day exam given by the American Board of Internal Medicine. It’s not an absolute requirement for an EP, but most EPs have passed this Cardiology Board exam.

FHRS Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society: Not an academic title and not limited to physicians. Membership is based on peer review. Designates heart rhythm professionals working in the field of electrophysiology and/or pacing, provided that the majority of their time is not devoted to marketing and/or sales. Most EPs in the US with FHRS credentials have also achieved FACC. Internationally this may not be the case.

FAHA Fellow of the American Heart Association: Not an academic title and not limited to physicians. Fellowship recognizes scientific and professional accomplishments and volunteer leadership and service. Open to physicians, scientists, nurses and other healthcare professionals with a major and productive interest in cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

CEPS Certified Electrophysiology Specialist: Physicians earning the CEPS certification have demonstrated a mastery of competency, knowledge and skills in cardiac electrophysiology and have met the certification requirements outlined by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE). They typically specialize in cardiac arrhythmias, ablation and electrophysiological studies. (Pediatric EPs and new EPs coming from overseas often have to pass this certification to practice in the US.) (In an ideal world all EPs would be required to pass this test and be re-tested every five or ten years, like other professionals [such as commercial pilots] responsible for people’s lives.)
CEPS-AC means the doctor is certified in Adult Cardiology
 CEPS-PC means the doctor is certified in Pediatric Cardiology

CCDS Certified Cardiac Device Specialist: Designates an EP who has passed an exam for cardiac devices such as pacemakers. The exam is given by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE) affiliated with the Heart Rhythm Society. This credential may not be totally relevant to A-Fib ablation.

DO Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine: (Like an MD, DOs are fully qualified physicians licensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication; DOs practice a “whole person” approach to medicine, and receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system.)

MBBS/MBChB/BMBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery: Awarded on graduation from medical school in various countries which follow the tradition of the United Kingdom (The Commonwealth of Nations). (Like a Doctor of Medicine degree, MD, in the U.S.)

CASTLE CONNOLLY TOP DOCTOR We are greatly indebted to Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. for the incredible work they do to help patients find the right doctor. In our directory of A-Fib Electrophysicians (EPs), we attempt to list EPs whom Castle Connolly has identified as “Top Doctors.”  The doctors included in Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor listings were selected after peer nomination, extensive research and careful review and screening by Castle Connolly’s doctor-directed research team. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be listed as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor. To see more info on how Castle Connolly selects doctors, go to http://www.castleconnolly.com/about/nomprocess.cfm.

But don’t rely exclusively on Castle Connolly’s listings. You still have to do your own due diligence to find the right doctor for you. Many of the older EPs listed by Castle Connolly no longer perform catheter ablations. And many EPs have never passed their Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology (CCE) certification, but still perform catheter ablations for A-Fib. There is no law or government body requiring they do so. You have to check Healthgrades, Vitals or other sources to see if they have indeed passed their CCE. (In my opinion, it ought to be illegal for someone who hasn’t passed their CCE certification to perform a catheter ablation for A-Fib.)

Return to: Directory of Doctors Treating A-Fib

Last updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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