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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            4 Program(s) Found
            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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            • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
            • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
            • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
            • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1997.
            • Reimburses students for the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam if taken during their 6th term, and one specialization test if taken within 90 days of graduation.
            • Employs a hybrid training approach, combining hands-on lab work with online theory classes.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • Program is offered at Clifton and Tom River in New Jersey, and West Hartford in Connecticut locations.
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            • Provides flexible scheduling options are available; day, afternoon, and evening classes are available Monday through Saturday and terms begin in October, January, April, and June.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs in legal studies, business administration, healthcare, nursing, accounting, and more.
            • Assists students with various academic and career advising services.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            South College , Knoxville
            • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for their Physician Assistant program in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Campus is 56,000 square feet of modern lecture classrooms, specialty laboratories with state-of-the art equipment, writing and math lab, student center, and more.
            • Programmatic accreditation from several organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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