Special Technologies and Services
Cardiovascular Technologist

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Salary: $25,604 - $50,216
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Hourly: $15.18 - $29.47
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Outlook: 4 Stars
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Length of Training: 1-2 years
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Registered Cardiovascular Technologists (RCVTs) perform and assist with invasive and noninvasive tests at the request of a physician to diagnose and provide therapy for heart disorders. They help physicians diagnose and care for illness or injuries involving the heart or blood vessels. At the request of the physician, RCVTs measure, analyze, and image the heart and circulatory system. Cardiac catheterization is an invasive diagnostic test done to obtain pumping ability of the heart muscle. Non-invasive tests include echocardiography and vascular ultrasound Doppler imaging, Holter monitoring, Phonocardiography, vector-cardiography, and stress tests. Physicians rely on the results to determine the presence and extent of heart disease and as the basis for prescribing therapy. RCVT’s other duties may include reviewing and recording medical histories, maintaining equipment, preparing patients for examinations, drawing blood samples, and explaining procedures to the patient.

Areas of Specialization

Cardiovascular technologists may specialize in invasive or noninvasive cardiology procedures. Invasive specialties include assisting physicians with cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, and pacemakers. Noninvasive specialties include echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) to image the valves, chambers, vessels, blood flow and motion of the heart. Vascular ultrasound uses images to and evaluate blood flow in the arteries and veins throughout the body, and screens for blockages and narrowing. Currently there are many opportunities within electrophysiology, which is used to check the heart’s electrical conduction system. Diseased parts of the electrical system can then be corrected with a technique called radio ablation therapy (destroying the diseased tissue with heat).

Work Environment

Cardiovascular technologists work directly with cardiologists in hospitals and medical centers, clinics, physician offices, and mobile diagnostic units. They also work in sales, training, and education. They may have to work on-call, nights, and weekends.