What Does A Cardiovascular Technologist Do?

"I want to work in the healthcare field but I don’t want to have to spend a long time studying the way aspiring doctors need to do. A friend suggested that I should become a cardiovascular technologist but I’m not sure exactly its duties are. What does a cardiovascular technologist do?"

asked by Henry T. from Tupelo, Mississippi

Cardiovascular technologists conduct diagnostic examinations of the heart. Under the direction of a physician, they may perform therapeutic interventions to help alleviate a patient’s condition. They may also assist surgeons during operations.

Cardiac sonographers are cardiovascular technologists that take images of the patient’s heart. Using ultrasound equipment, they get echocardiograms of the chambers, valves and vessels of the heart. They may also be tasked with obtaining echocardiograms of the heart of a baby inside the mother’s womb to help doctors determine if there are cardiac issues during pregnancy.

Cardiology technologists are cardiovascular technologists whose main responsibilities involve monitoring the heart rates of patients. They also help in the diagnosis and treatment of those with heart conditions. If necessary, they assist physicians in putting a catheter to the heart via a patient’s artery in a process known as cardiac catheterization. They also get patients ready for open-heart surgery and monitor their blood pressure and heart rate while the procedure is in process. They also provide assistance when patients need to be inserted with pacemakers and stents.

Another type of cardiovascular technologists are vascular sonographers. Their task is to obtain images of blood vessels and gather data that enable physicians to determine the causes behind disorders that affect blood flow. To check the flow of blood and find which arteries are blocked, they take the blood pressure of the patient and measure the blood volume in their legs, arms, fingers and toes. They perform their tests noninvasively by obtaining such information as blood volume, oxygen saturation, blood flow in arteries and veins and presence of clots by using specialized ultrasound instruments or blood pressure cuffs.

Throughout the course of these procedures, cardiovascular technologists collaborate closely with the attending physician or surgeon to ensure that the patient receives the correct diagnosis and is given the appropriate treatment. When preparing patients for the procedure, cardiovascular technologists also get the patient’s history and answer questions about the test or operation that will be performed.

They also ensure that the equipment is working and ready before the patient is brought in. During the procedure, they operate the equipment and review the images obtained to make sure that these are clear enough for the physician to make his diagnosis. They also see to it that the tests have covered all the necessary body organs and tissues so that the physician can make a complete and accurate conclusion as to the patient’s condition.

Cardiovascular technologists also assist doctors by scrutinizing diagnostic information they have obtained and summarizing the findings. They should be able to spot normal images from abnormal ones. They are also tasked with keeping a record of their findings.

Career Spotlight: Cardiovascular Technologist

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