Ultrasound Specialties and Modalities (part 2 in series of 3 posts)

As promised in previous post, this is the SECOND in the series of THREE posts regarding ultrasound specialites and modalities. The first area discussed was General Ultrasound which requires sonographer to produce images ranging from small body organs located in abdominal cavity (liver, kidneys, pancreas, etc.) to OB/GYN related images of breast and reproductive system. The next area of specialization pertains to the heart and is called Echocardography.

Echocardiography pertains to the assessment of the structure and function of the heart and its blood vessels via specialized ultrasound equipment. An Echo provides information necessary to rate the efficiency of blood flow throught the cardiovascular system. It is a know fact that Echocardiography is replacing older radiological studies due to being safer, more accurate and more cost-effective. Echocardiography is also referred to as “Cardiac Sonography.” Both terms are correct. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive; meaning, there is no breaking of the skin or entering the body. Also, there are no know risks or side effects associated with this procedure.

So, what does the Echocardiographer do? The Echo Tech, or Cardiac Sonographer, performs the imaging procedures on the patient. The technicians produce images with the use of Doppler signals and spectral tracings of the heart. Not only does the technician work closely with the patient, but also with physicians to conclude accurate diagnoses.

The different types of Echocardiograms are:

  1. Transthoracic echocardiogram – (TTE) is a standard echocardiogram. The transducer is placed on patient’s chest where images are taken through the chest wall. This produces an efficient assessment of the overall health of the heart. This is a NON-invasive procedure.
  2. Transesophageal echocardiogram – (TEE) is an alternate process of performing an echocardiogram. This procedure involves use of a specialized probe that posseses an ultrasound transducer at its tip. The probe is passed into the patient’s esophagus which allows imaging and Doppler evaluation.
  3. 3-dimensional echocardiography – is now available. This procedure uses an array of transducers which enables specific and detailed anatomical assessment of cardiac pathology; especially, valvular defects and cardiomyopathies.
TEE - how it is performed

Career opportunities for cardiac sonographers are expected to grow faster than average through the year 2010 with total growth estimated at 26% by the year 2016. Growth is largely due to the increase in the aging population and the fact that the elderly have a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

Licensing and Certification is available through two agencies: American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

ARDMS offers credentials in :

1) Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)

2) Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT)

CCI offers credentials in:

1) Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT),

2) Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS), and

3) Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS), and

4) Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)

For some people, the thought of going back to school OR pursuing additional education is just NOT convenient for their busy schedules. Now, it is conveniently offered online where the student may access at THEIR leisure to complete ALL didactic work. Also, at the Academy of Ultrasound, “hands-on” scan labs are available without having to travel. So, unlike inconvenient methods of seeking career training at a “brick-and-mortar” style institution, students are able to access courses when THEIR schedule allows without the headaches of traveling through traffic, fighting for a parking spot, and feeling the affects – in the purse – of higher gas prices!!!

Ultrasound training is attainable at YOUR convenience. Remember, the future is in YOUR hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Please view our previous posts such as “The Truth: Accredited v. Non-accredited” )

www.academyofultrasound.com  For information regarding online ultrasound program, email: info@academyofultrasound.com

Ultrasound Specialties and Modalities Available

One of the most common dilemnas a potential ultrasound student faces is which modality to consider.  Most people considering ultrasound as a possible career choice are unaware of the different areas of specialization available to them.  Thus, the main focus of this blog post is to educate the public on the possibilities in the field of sonography.  In an effort to keep this particular post as short and concise as possible, as to not be boring, I will publish a series of  THREE blog posts on the subject of the specialties and modalities available.  So, be sure to visit our blog for the upcoming posts.

First of all, it is not necessary to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (DMS) prior to choosing a specialty.  There seems to be a misconception that one must receive General Ultrasound training before completing the training for a specialized area; this is not so.  However, it is the decision of the trainee as to the length of training willing to persue.  With that in mind, it is possible to seek – for example, training in Echocardiography without receiving certification in another modality, first.

General Ultrasound imaging

The areas of specialization being discussed in this post are:

GENERAL ULTRASOUND

  1. Abdominal and Small Parts – these sonographers produce images of organs or organ systems within the abdominal cavity of the patient. The abdominal cavity includes: liver, biliary system, spleen, pancreas, urinary system, breast, thyroid, great vessels, and male reproductive system. The images that are produced assist physicians in diagnosing and treating certain diseases and disorders.
  2. Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) – the female reproductive system is the focus of the images made by these sonographers. Naturally, the most common association of ultrasound imaging is that of a pregnant woman where the doctor monitors the growth and health of the fetus.
  3. Breast Sonography – one of the tools used to fight breast cancer. Tumors are often detected by using ultrasound images of the breast tissue and blood supply. Mammography is often coupled with mammography.
  4. Neurosonography – sonographers produce ultrasound images of the nervous system which includes the brain. It is common for Neurosonographers to work in neonatal care which includes diagnosing and studying the conditions of the neurological and nervous system of premature infants.

 

It is a fact that sonographers who are registered in more than one modality strengthen their marketability; therefore, resulting in increased salaries.  While working at just one facility – such as a hospital- may be attractive to some, it is possible for sonographers to seek employment with an additional facility – such as a private practice – using another specialty. For example, if you are employed as a full-time Echo Tech at a hospital and are also registered as a  Vascular Tech, you may choose to work for a private practice on a part-time basis or even weekend “call” basis.  This is just one example of using multiple modality certifications to advance career and earnings potential.

The credentials associated with the above modalities (others will be mentioned in upcoming series posts) provided by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) are:

  • RDMS – Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

 

For the next modality to be discussed in this series, be sure to visit our blog next week.

(Please view our previous posts such as “The Truth: Accredited v. Non-accredited” )

www.academyofultrasound.com  For information regarding online ultrasound program, email: info@academyofultrasound.com