Cardiovascular technicians, also called cardiovascular technologists, provide support to physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac and peripheral vascular issues. They explain procedures and tests to patients, answering questions and providing additional information as needed; during procedures, they help ensure patients are safe and comfortable. They may also assist with acquiring patient test results and records, recording patient data and maintaining equipment. At all times, cardiovascular technicians must follow laws and organizational policies related to privacy and patient safety.
These professionals may specialize in several different areas: cardiology, which involves invasive procedures; electrocardiography, which involves collecting diagnostic data using an electrocardiograph; echocardiography, which involves cardiac graphic imaging equipment; or vascular, which involves non-invasive procedures and blood flow irregularities. Cardiovascular technicians work for general and specialty hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, doctors' offices and outpatient care centers. They generally work full time, which may include shifts or on-call duty during nights and weekends.
Cardiovascular technician positions generally require an associate's degree or bachelor’s degree from a accredited program at a college, vocational school or university. Certification at the state level may also be needed. Relevant experience is also generally required or preferred. Generally, entry-level technicians perform tasks such as conducting electrocardiograms and preparing stress tests; as they gain experience, they perform additional diagnostic and treatment tasks.
Cardiovascular Technician Tasks
- Conduct cardiovascular tests to record patients' cardiac activity using specialized electronic test equipment, recording devices and laboratory instruments.
- Prepare reports of diagnostic procedures for interpretation by physician.
- Prepare and position patients for invasive heart procedures.
- Monitor gauges, recorder and video screens of computer system during imaging of cardiovascular system.