A trained technician or technologist who uses sonogram technology to provide diagnostic imaging of the heart is known as an echocardiographer. Techs gather information about the heart’s structure, function, pressures, and rhythm using sound waves from a Doppler/transducer. Close contact with cardiologists or echocardiologists is required, as they review the echocardiographer’s initial findings and diagnose or recommend treatment to patients. The majority of echocardiography jobs are for adults, but some of these technicians work with children or pregnant women and perform pediatric or fetal echocardiograms.
The amount of education and training required to work as an echocardiographer varies. The majority of people complete two years of training and earn an associate of arts degree from community colleges or technical and trade-medical schools. Employees with a bachelor’s degree and the flexibility to work in adult, fetal, or pediatric areas are preferred, according to labor trends.
A bachelor’s degree may lead to more job opportunities and more money. Because median pay in places like the United States is relatively generous, the work may leave something to be desired. It was just under $60,000 US Dollars (USD) in 2008, with consistent projected growth in the field. Depending on where an echocardiographer works, licensing may be required, and echocardiographers may be required to complete continuing education units.
The echocardiographer’s job entails a lot of face-to-face contact with patients. To obtain the required images, technicians use a transducer and special conductive gel on the chest or upper abdomen of patients to examine adult and pediatric hearts. They move the transducer across the patient’s skin to get the best views of the heart. A computer is used to obtain different views, magnify structures for a closer examination, and assess various aspects of the heart’s function. Depending on how comprehensive an echo is, it can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour. In very busy practices or hospitals, a full-time echocardiographer may see six to ten patients per day, or even more.
Fetal echocardiography differs from traditional fetal ultrasound in that it is more like performing a traditional fetal ultrasound. The technician is primarily concerned with the structure of the fetal heart, but she is also performing an ultrasound on the mother. The Doppler/transducer may be inserted into the vaginal canal in both abdominal and transvaginal views.
The resulting echocardiogram is a diagnostically valuable moving picture with sound. The majority of these are recorded, and the technician may also record images that indicate heart health or problems. The echocardiographer is not there to diagnose the patient’s problems and will not discuss the results of an echocardiogram, though he may point out heart structures to a curious patient. Instead, echo techs obtain a preliminary image and present the diagnosis or findings to the doctors. Additional echocardiogram views may be performed the doctor, who will then provide patients with diagnostic information or treatment recommendations.
Hospitals, radiology clinics, and busy cardiology practices are all places where echocardiographers work. Technicians who have the sensitivity and training to perform pediatric and fetal echoes are most likely to work in tertiary hospitals. Echo techs are also employed private pediatric cardiology practices.