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The echocardiographer uses sound waves to create an image of the heart, obtaining images and measurements of the heart and major vessels. The physician uses this information to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment for the patient.

Echocardiology is a highly specialized form of sonography utilising Doppler imaging to visualise the anatomy and function of the heart, to monitor direction and speed of blood flow, the shape of the valves and heart chambers, and how they move as the heart is beating, echo patterns, etc. It is used in conjunction with standard chest X-rays and an ECG (electrocardiogram).

The testing administered by echocardiography and vascular technology technicians is noninvasive, meaning that the tests do not involve any tubes or other foreign objects being inserted into the patients. Ultrasound equipment creates pictures by sending high-frequency sound waves into the patient’s body and recording the echoes of those waves. The computer processes the reflected soundwaves into images which are viewed on a screen, and may be recorded onto video or film for later review by a medical doctor.

Technicians are responsible for observing the ultrasound image and finding problematic areas. They choose which images to include on the film for the doctor’s review and decide if the ultrasound images are clear enough for the doctor to make a diagnosis confidently. They also record relevant medical histories, set equipment parameters, and explain to the patient what they are doing.

They may be required to wear lead coats to protect them from radiation.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with people
- usually working regular hours
- rendering a service to the community
- working as part of the medical profession

Demanding aspects
- may have to work overtime
- may be on call over weekends and holidays

- pay attention to detail
- able to work as part of a team
- able to concentrate for long periods
- able to remain calm in emergencies
- responsible and reliable
- have technical ability
- be supportive of and positive towards patients

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: universities with medical schools eg Wits, UCT, UP

- hospitals
- clinics
- other health care facilities

Contact any of the above facilities.