What Does a Cardiac Sonographer Do?

Learn about the rewarding aspects of this unique healthcare role

Are you potentially interested in a behind-the-scenes role in healthcare? Cardiac sonography is one option that’s worth learning more about. Sonography uses the technique of ultrasound to envision and diagnose medical issues, and is probably best known for providing images of developing fetuses to pregnant women. But ultrasounds are used to create images of many parts of the body, including the abdomen, breast, and brain. Cardiac sonographers, also called echocardiographers, focus on helping doctors diagnose issues with the functioning of the heart.

Becoming a Cardiovascular Sonographer means you use ultrasound—which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images—to reveal the heart’s chambers valves, walls, and vessels as well as related circulatory systems. This helps a cardiologist to diagnose heart conditions and devise appropriate treatments, including:

  • evaluate cardiac abnormalities
  • track chronic heart conditions
  • evaluate heart valves that are narrow or leaking
  • seek causes for symptoms such as of, chest pain, shortness of breath, or murmurs.

How cardiac sonographers spend their day

Because they both prepare patients and assist physicians or surgeons, cardiovascular sonographers need to be available before, during, and after procedures. On a typical day, an echocardiographer might:

  • explain procedures and help prepare patients (who may have heart conditions or heart disease) for exams
  • ensure that equipment is ready
  • perform echocardiograms, including 3D echocardiograms
  • take images of heart chambers and the structures of the circulatory system
  • assist surgeons during interventional procedures, such as percutaneous valve replacement
  • read and assess images for abnormalities
  • report findings to the cardiologist in order to treat patients appropriately.

Where cardiac sonographers work

Cardiac sonographers work directly with patients of all ages in hospitals as well as outpatient imaging facilities. Some patients will be healthy, and others may be receiving treatment for a life-threatening condition.

Most of the procedures cardiac sonographers perform are noninvasive. In a small, low-lit room, these professionals stand or sit beside the patient, who may be on a stretcher, exam table, or in a wheelchair. Depending on whether portable ultrasound is available, the cardiac sonographer might go to a patient’s hospital room and perform the tests there.

Advantages of becoming a cardiovascular sonographer

These healthcare professionals play a crucial role in helping patients with heart conditions. Since the field of cardiovascular sonography is always evolving, it is a job where you have the chance to develop new skills over time, as you learn to use new technology and equipment. It can be gratifying to use your knowledge every day to actively assist doctors, patients, and other medial staff. Many in this profession take pride in being a crucial member of the healthcare team that directly contributes the health of others.

If you’re interested in learning more, read answers to these frequently asked questions about Cardiac Sonography. You could be on your way to a new career in healthcare in as little as two years!


This article is part of the weekly blog of the American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, FL. For more about all of our various professional training programs, visit us online.