Program Overview

Cardiovascular Technology is an allied health profession utilizing skilled techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases. Sixteen students are selected to enter the program each year (eight each track).

The Cardiovascular Technology Program consists of a non-invasive cardiovascular and an invasive cardiovascular emphasis. In the first year of study in the cardiovascular program, emphasis is placed on teaching the basic sciences and cardiology to both the non-invasive and invasive cardiovascular programs together. In the second year, the program instruction centers on the students chosen track of study, either the invasive cardiovascular or the noninvasive cardiovascular field. The students will receive mainly dedicated didactic training the first year while throughout the second year, students will attend a clinical internship in thier chosen field of study as well as continuing didactic training.

What is a Cardiovascular Technologist?
A cardiovascular technologist is an allied health professional who performs highly specialized procedures leading to the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease. The cardiovascular technologist possesses technical and cognitive skills necessary to provide quality care practices for the evaluation of varied pathophysiologic states.

You may specialize in either the Invasive or the Non-invasive field of practice:

Noninvasive Cardiovascular Technologist:
The non-invasive cardiology technologist is an allied health professional who utilizes ultrasound images for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases. The non-invasive technologist, often referred to as a cardiac ultrasound sonographer, performs an ultrasonic examination for specific disease states ordered by a referring physician. The technologist will systemically assess the anatomical and physiological data with evaluation of the pathology, during the exam, resulting in a diagnostic echocardiogram for the interpreting physician.

The major role of a non-invasive technologist is to apply a strong knowledge base of cardiovascular hemodynamics with a combined ability to obtain high quality ultrasound images of the heart and related structures for a diagnostic examination. The echocardiogram is a technologist dependent exam and requires a highly skilled operator to obtain imaging data adjusting proper instrumentation of the ultrasound equipment. An echocardiogram is an interactive procedure involving the patient, the ultrasound system, the instrumentation (production of images with applied knowledge) and the interpreting cardiologist. Non-invasive technologists will adapt or perform specific protocols to obtain all the images/data based on the pathology to provide a comprehensive and diagnostic echocardiogram.

Several modalities of echocardiography are performed by the technologist such as M-mode, Two-Dimensional, and Doppler echocardiograms which is a comprehensive exam. Other procedures performed in the echocardiography lab, involving a team, are stress or Dobutamine echocardiograms and trans-esophageal echocardiograms. These procedures may also be performed in the cardiac catheterization lab, electrophysiology lab, or the cardiac operating room.

Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist:
The invasive cardiovascular technologist is a health care professional who, through the use of specialized high-tech equipment and at the direction of a qualified Cardiologist, assists in performing procedures on patients in a surgical environment with the goal of diagnosing and treating heart disease and peripheral vascular disease.

As a member of the cardiac catheterization team, the invasive cardiovascular technologist is trained to perform in several roles such as a surgical scrub assistant, monitoring the patient's condition, or operating specialized equipment and administering medications within the cardiac cath lab. The invasive cardiovascular technologist works with physicians in the field of interventional cardiology, which attempts to prevent or treat heart attacks by restoring blood flow to diseased areas of the heart.

Procedures routinely performed in cardiac catheterization labs include coronary and cardiac angiography, coronary and peripheral angioplasty (using tiny balloons and stents to open clogged arteries), right heart catheterization (measuring the flow of blood and performing cardiac calculations), electrophysiology procedures (where irregular heartbeats are studied and treated), and implanting permanent pacemakers and defibrillators to correct dangerous arrhythmias of the heart. Invasive cardiovascular technologists may also administer clot dissolving drugs, operate cardiac assist pumps, and assist in other cardiac emergency procedures.