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What does a Cardiovascular Technician Do?

A cardiovascular technician may use electrocardiograms to monitor patients.
A cardiovascular technician can use a electrocardiograph machine to record a patients heart's electrical activity.
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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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Cardiovascular technicians work closely with physicians and must feel comfortable interacting with patients who face life-threatening health problems. They work with a wide variety of equipment and must project an air of professionalism as they perform their jobs. A cardiovascular technician helps the physician diagnose and treat medical conditions relating to the heart and blood vessels.

He or she will schedule appointments, review patients' files, perform ultrasounds on patients, execute cardiovascular procedures, monitor heart rates of patients, and record and interpret data. Technicians who specialize in invasive cardiology help doctors perform balloon angioplasties, cardiac catheterization procedures, and insert pacemakers and stents. The technician will often be responsible for using EKG (electrocardiograph) equipment to monitor patients.

Some technicians specialize in echocardiography and vascular technology. They are responsible for using non-invasive methods when they help doctors to treat patients. Using technologies like ultrasound, they assess the flow of blood through arteries and veins, monitor the patient's pulse, and even measure oxygen saturation.

Although it is possible for a cardiovascular technician to learn on the job, most technicians are graduates of a program that lasts between two to four years. Some schools even offer a program that leads to a bachelor's degree in this particular field. Typical courses often include invasive and noninvasive cardiovascular technology.

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Students will also take classes that relate to noninvasive vascular technology as well. Courses in human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical electronics, and other important subjects are required courses a student must take. The program will also include clinical experiences with patients.

Cardiovascular technicians are required to be certified in some states. They receive this certification from Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Other states do not require cardiovascular technician certification, but many employers prefer that their technicians are certified by one of the two organizations.

Standing, walking, carrying heavy objects, and lifting patients are all part of the job of a cardiovascular technician. He or she can often experience stressful work environments because of constant interaction with patients who suffer from chronic heart conditions. Most technicians work in hospitals, but some work in doctor's offices.

Cardiovascular technicians typically work five days a week. Sometimes they may need to work nights or weekends. They are often required to wear a heavy lead apron to protect them from radiation exposure since they frequently work with x-ray equipment. They must also be prepared to work with blood and other potentially infectious substances.

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Discuss this Article

everetra
Post 4

@Mammmood - That’s interesting. I don’t know that it’s part of the technician’s job to make the kind of assessment that she made about your condition, or even if that led to your having to wait.

I think the doctor ultimately has to make those kinds of decisions. She probably gave him the preliminary information about the results of your test and he decided how to prioritize the patients, along with others helping him.

Mammmood
Post 3

I checked into the emergency room years ago, thinking that I had some heart condition. Fortunately it turned out to be a simple case of heartburn, but before they rushed me to the doctor, I was attended to by the cardiovascular technologist.

She checked my pulse, blood pressure and did some stuff with the ultrasound too if I recall correctly. Then they put me on the gurney, but I overheard her speaking to another technician that she didn’t think my condition was serious – a “false alarm” was the term I heard her use.

Anyway, I don’t know if it was because of that initial assessment, but apparently I got bumped down in the list of priorities.

It was hours before the doctor eventually saw me; I wasn’t dead, so they must have thought my condition wasn’t that serious. Triage was filled with other people too, some who were clearly in the throes of something more serious.

starrynight
Post 2

@strawCake - I see what you're saying. I think the best method of training for a medical professional like a cardiovascular technician would be a combination of hands on training and classroom training.

I actually looked into the cardiovascular technician training program at my local community college recently. The training involved classroom and clinical training. Then at the end of the program, you participated in an internship. The whole program also prepares students to take their certification exam.

It seemed pretty well rounded, so I think I'd probably feel comfortable with a cardiovascular technician that had graduated from there performed medicine on me!

strawCake
Post 1

Wow! I can't imagine training on the job to do all that stuff. I'm glad that most states require certification.

It seems like you would really need to know why you're doing what you're doing for some of those procedures. In other words, I don't think it would be good enough to just know how to do some of that stuff. I don't think that there's enough time on the job to learn all of that!

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