Since the 1970s, cardiovascular mortality has declined by 50 percent. While advances in drugs and a greater awareness of lifestyle choices contribute to the decline, heart imaging and early diagnosis have played a role as well. Cardiovascular technicians are a part of a medical team that helps physicians diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease and conditions.
Cardiovascular technicians prepare patients for cardiovascular procedures by taking medical histories, vital signs and answering questions about the procedure. Technicians may assist cardiology technologists to prepare patients for invasive procedures, such as cardiac catheterization, by shaving the area of the body where a physician will insert a catheter or perform a procedure. Technicians assist patients during testing procedures, such as stress testing. Stress testing requires the technician to explain the procedure to the patient, place electrodes on the patient, attach an electrocardiogram monitor and record the patient’s resting blood pressure and readings. The technician monitors the patient while walking on a treadmill as the speed is increased. The technician monitors the effect of exertion on the patient’s heart.
Cardiovascular technicians prepare imaging equipment to perform cardiac imaging procedures. The technician maintains the imaging equipment to ensure it is in good working condition for a patient procedure. Cardiovascular technicians evaluate the quality of patient images and may make adjustments to ensure the physician’s instructions are followed. Technicians must have the knowledge to recognize abnormal and normal images and may discuss the images with a physician to help in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac conditions.
Technicians must record the results of procedures in the patients’ records. Cardiovascular technicians also compile patient information and prepare reports for physicians and hospital administration. Some technicians schedule patient appointments, type physician notes and answer the telephone in a doctor’s office or hospital cardiology department.
Education and Certification
Employers may require an associate degree in cardiovascular technology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Associate degree programs train technicians or technologists to use cardiac imaging equipment and perform invasive and non-invasive procedures. Diploma programs are also available for cardio technician training, which may be helpful for students with an education or training in another area of health care. Associate degree and diploma programs include clinical training in cardiac procedures. Certification is available for cardiovascular technicians, but it is not a requirement for a position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers may prefer applicants with a certification. Cardiovascular Credentialing International offers the Certified Cardiographic Technician credential for applicants who meet the education or work experience requirements and pass an examination.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians and Vascular Technologists Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist or Technician or Vascular Technologist
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Outlook
- Cardiovascular Credentialing International: Certified Cardiographic Technician
- Ohio University: Classification and Qualification Standards Cardiovascular Technician
- Central Florida Institute: Cardio Technician
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012 29-2031 Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
- Health Affairs: Advances In The Prevention And Treatment Of Cardiovascular Disease
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images