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A Day in the Life of an Echocardiography Technician

Apr 08, 2010

The echocardiography technician reports to the medical center where she has worked for several years. She barely has time to set her bag down and take off her coat before the phone begins ringing. It's the emergency room with her first patient of the day: a fifty-five-year-old man with chest pain that emergency room doctor thinks is having an aneurysm. An ultrasound needs to be done quickly in order to best treat the patient. The ultrasound will bring her equipment to the patient's bedside since he is not stable enough to be transported to the imaging department. Arriving in the emergency room, she meets the doctor, nurses, and patient in the exam room. She assembles her equipment and places the transducer to the patient's chest to begin the study. An aneurysm is present on the patient's aorta and the echocardiography technician heads to the phone to obtain a stat reading from the cardiologist. The emergency room staff begins preparation to transfer the patient for immediate surgery to save his life.

The next patient of the day is a new baby who was born more than a month early. Her pediatrician has detected a heart murmur and an echocardiogram has been ordered in order to evaluate the tiny baby for possible heart defects. The baby is very small in her little basinet and the echocardiography technician takes note of the baby's vital signs and begins the test. The technician can see the obvious defect in the baby's heart, but will have to wait for the radiologist to look at the images to determine the severity of the newborn's condition. The radiologist sends up his report. There is a defect, but it is relatively minor. The report is placed on the baby's chart so the neonatal cardiologist can speak to the baby's parents about the results.

Next, it's back to the imaging department to help out several scheduled patients. Echocardiograms for these four patients have been scheduled by the cardiologist's office. The exams do not take too long to complete and luckily all the patients are very friendly today and their appointments are right on time. "I'm very lucky to have a job where I meet so many interesting people," the echocardiography technician thinks.

The echocardiography technician goes on her lunch break and then back to the department to do testing on several scheduled patients. The operating room calls for an echocardiography technician to come to the heart catheterization lab to assist the cardiologist. When the technician arrives, she gathers the necessary equipment to assist with a transesophageal echo, or TEE. The technician assists the heart doctor to complete the evaluation to check for blood clots prior to the patient’s procedure. Once the cardiologist is satisfied with the images, he removes the transducer from the patient’s mouth. Back to the imaging department again!

There are several more patients scheduled that day to have echocardiograms done at their doctor's request. The emergency room calls several times for more tests to be done on patients. The afternoon flies by. Before she knows it, it is time for the technician to head home. And she can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

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