The primary role of the echocardiographer is to perform high-quality ultrasound images of the heart. The echocardiographer usually works in a hospital or health center, and many work on-call in a rotating schedule. Tasks performed by an echocardigrapher include performing echocardiograms and exercise echocardiogram examinations; these echocardiogram examinations include color flow mapping, cardiac doppler imaging, and 2-D m-mode, and they are performed without the assistance of a cardiologist. An echocardiographer generally works under the direction of the department director and the medical director.
To work as an echocardiologist, an individual must be credentialed through an organization, usually the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). For pediatric echocardiography, an RDCS Pediatric credential is required. Skills required to be an echocardiologists include the ability to obtain complete anatomical and blood flow information, understand normal and abnormal anatomy, be able to recognize structural and functional abnormalities, and obtain comprehensive cardiac imaging and general clinical information. They must also be skilled in operating equipment, troubleshooting technical problems, and interacting with patients, physicians, and other personnel. The ability to bend, crouch, twist, and hold awkward positions for several minutes, push equipment weighing approximately 400 pounds, and use fine motor skills are also required.
Prepare and position patient for echocardiography exam and explain procedure.
Operate cardiac ultrasound, dopper and similar equipment to perform procedure according to physician's directive.
Observe screen during scan to ensure satisfactory image for diagnostic purposes, making adjustments as required.
Provide sonogram and oral or written summary of technical findings to physician for use in medical diagnosis.