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:
- 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.
- 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-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.
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” )