Echocardiographers use specialist equipment to make images of the chambers of the heart and related large blood vessels. This equipment uses sound which is bounced off these structures; the resulting echoes are used to construct a computer generated image. Experts can view these images and use them to identify deformities or abnormatilies such as narrowing of the arterires or heart chamber enlargement.
Before using the euipment, echocardiographers usually meet with the patient to explain the procedure and what to anticipate. You may find that you need to reassure particularly anxious patients. After explaining what to expect, you may then position the patient on a couch. You might have to help elderly or infirm patients undress and position themselves. Using a handheld device and following the directions of a physician, you would then scan areas of the heart. Once a good image has been established, by viewing a monitor, you would then save this image as a still or record a moving film for later diagnosis by a physician. You will probably be responsible for replenishing consumables and booking maintenance visits concerned with the machinery and ensuring that the echocardiograph room is tidy.
Echocardiography training schools will generally teach you basic anatomy and physiology of the human body. Clearly, you will receive concentrated training in the circulatory system. You might learn about common heart abnormalities such as chamber enlargement or congenital defects such as how and why a 'hole in the heart' occurs. Echocardiography training schools may teach you to use a variety of different models and makes of equipment. You may also learn a little about medical physics so you can better understand how the equipment works. You may also receive training in basic maintenance and patient welfare.
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