Cardiac Sonographer

What is the job of a cardiac sonographer?

Cardiac sonographers, also referred to as echocardiographers, take ultrasounds specific to the heart. They specifically look at the heart vessels, chambers, and valves, as well as how well the heart muscles contact. These professionals perform ultrasounds on patients both while they’re resting or immediately following exercise on a treadmill. Ultrasounds performed during or immediately following physical exertion show whether the patient’s heart is optimally functioning. Cardiac sonographers also initiate IVs in order to administer medication to patients. The medication is typically administered to patients who cannot walk to increase their heart rate as though they were exercising. Learn more about cardiac sonographer training.

There are a variety of specific tests a cardiac sonographer can perform on a patient.

One test they can perform is a transthorasic echocardiogram (TTE), which involves placing a transducer on the outside of the body, over the heart, in order to obtain an image of the chest cavity. Anytime a clearer picture is needed, a transesophageal

Also, Cardiac sonographers can also administer a bubble study. This study involves agitating a fluid through two syringes and then injecting it into a vein. The purpose of this procedure is to determine if the bubbles created travel across the septum of the heart. This procedure can determine abnormal findings such as the presence of an ASD (atrial septal defect) or PFO (patent foramen ovale). Blood should not be able to move from one atrium to the other without traveling through the normal circulation, in other words not across the septal wall. A bubble study is not a separate “procedure” but can be part of either a TTE or a TEE.

Learn more about cardiac sonographer salary.

In addition to these procedures, cardiac sonographers sometimes need to go into the operating room for heart surgery, especially when the surgery involves the heart valves. Due to needing to maintain the sterile field, when patients are having valve surgery a transducer cannot be used on the chest. A probe is used in this case to image the heart valves. In some situations the anesthesiologist performs the cardiac ultrasound in the operating room and in other situations the cardiac sonographer will handle the manipulation of the probe to obtain the images.

What types of patients does a cardiac sonographer see?

Cardiac sonographers see a variety of types of patients. Some common patients include: newborn babies and pediatric patients with congenital heart defects, individuals experiencing chest pain, patients having fainting spells, patients with disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), and those with heart murmurs.

Cardiac Sonographer Schools

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            Keiser University Campus , New Port Richey
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            • Students adopt a dedication to service, healing, and helping others.
            • Provides scientific research in collaboration with prestigious universities, such as Yale, Oxford, and Southwestern Medical School.
            • Features a full-service wellness clinic, serving over 500 patients daily.
            • Parker Seminars has become the largest chiropractic seminar organization in the world, with over 5000 attendees yearly.
            • Average teacher to student ratio is 1:13.5.
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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            Argosy University , Saint Paul
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
            • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
            • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
            • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Platt College , Ontario
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
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            Fortis Institute , Salt Lake City
            • Provides a 24/7 myCampusLink system that lets students access their records, e-mail, communicate with faculty, and more.
            • Designated a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Offers career education in nursing, dental, business, information technology, and more. 
            • Has 44 campus locations across 15 states, with online options as well.
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