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What Does an Electrocardiogram Technician Do?

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  • Written By: Kristie Lorette
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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An electrocardiogram technician works with doctors to help diagnose heart and vascular problems in patients. The technician runs EKG tests, stress tests and heart monitoring procedures that generate reports to help the heart doctors to determine any heart problems or vascular problems the patient may have.

The technician places the electrode patches on the chest, arms and legs of the patient. These electrodes measure the patient’s response to different activity as it pertains to the patient’s heart. Some electrocardiogram tests are performed as a routine before a patient goes into surgery, while other tests are run to check for specific problems the patient may be having.

The technician also attaches an EKG (electrocardiogram) monitor to the belt of the patient. For example, this may be attached to the patient’s belt while the patient is walking on a treadmill. The electrocardiogram technician monitors the change in the patient’s heart as the technician increases and decreases the speed of the treadmill, which of course, changes the heart rate and output of the patient.

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In some cases, the electrocardiogram technician attaches the EKG to the patient to wear outside of the hospital or doctor's office. The patient may wear the monitor for 24 hours or more and carry on their normal duties of life. The monitor registers the heart rate and heart information on the patient as they move about their normal life duties. The monitor electronically reports information back to the electrocardiogram technician or when the patient returns the monitor the technician downloads the information into a report.

The electrocardiogram technician then provides the reports and information to the doctor. The technician typically reviews this information with the doctor, so that the doctor can make a diagnosis or request the electrocardiogram technician to perform additional tests

Some electrocardiogram technician professionals also get involved on more of the administrative side of the work. Administratively, this may involve scheduling and confirming appointments with patients. The technician typically reviews patient files before and after the doctor reviews and interprets the patient files, so that the technician knows what the next steps are that the doctor wants the technician to take with the patient.

These technicians are also responsible for operating, caring for and testing all of the machinery and equipment they use to run the tests on the patients. This may include meeting with representatives selling new technology or working with the repair companies to maintain existing equipment.

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