Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

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Also known as:
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Technologist, Cardiac Catheterization Technologist, Cardiac Monitor Technician, Cardiac Technician, Cardiopulmonary Technologist, Cardiovascular Interventional Technologist, Cardiovascular Technologist, Echocardiogram Technician, Echocardiographer, Echocardiographic Technologist

Video transcript

To accomplish the everyday miracles of modern care for heart patients, it takes a team of professionals. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians are essential members of that team.

Technologists are trained to prepare patients and assist physicians during procedures such as cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, and open-heart surgery. They also monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate. The intricacy of these operations requires a high degree of precision and concentration.

The work of technicians focuses on the measurement of the electrical signals generated by the heart - called an electrocardiogram, or EKG. Technicians place sensors on the patient and then use one of several machines designed to provide physicians with a printed record of the heart's beating. They may also administer stress tests.

Diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease depends on the careful work of these professionals, who are trained at hospitals and community colleges. EKG technicians may also be trained on the job. People wanting to go into these occupations must be reliable, have mechanical aptitude, and be able to follow detailed directions.

The ability to put patients at ease is a definite asset. The work can be stressful, but very rewarding, because every hour of every day, someone's life is on the line.

Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic, therapeutic, or research purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Adjust equipment and controls according to physicians' orders or established protocol.

Conduct electrocardiogram (EKG), phonocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress testing, or other cardiovascular tests to record patients' cardiac activity, using specialized electronic test equipment, recording devices, or laboratory instruments.

Monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate using electrocardiogram (EKG) equipment during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures to notify the physician if something appears wrong.

Prepare and position patients for testing.

Check, test, and maintain cardiology equipment, making minor repairs when necessary, to ensure proper operation.

Monitor patients' comfort and safety during tests, alerting physicians to abnormalities or changes in patient responses.

Obtain and record patient identification, medical history, or test results.

Explain testing procedures to patients to obtain cooperation and reduce anxiety.

Attach electrodes to the patients' chests, arms, and legs, connect electrodes to leads from the electrocardiogram (EKG) machine, and operate the EKG machine to obtain a reading.

Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.