Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist
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Invasive cardiology is an exciting and challenging career involving highly sophisticated equipment to create images that aid physicians in diagnosing cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiovascular technologists who perform invasive procedures are called cardiovascular invasive specialists. They assist physicians with cardiac catheterization procedures in which a small tube, or catheter, is guided through the patient's blood vessels into the heart or cardiovascular system.
This procedure can determine if a blockage exists in the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle and help diagnose structural or electrical abnormalities of the cardiovascular system. Part of the procedure may involve balloon angioplasty or stenting, which treats blockages of blood vessels or heart valves without the need for heart surgery.
Cardiovascular invasive specialists also prepare patients for cardiac catheterization and interventions and monitor blood pressure and heart rate using electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) equipment during procedures and the implantation of pacemakers.
Nationwide, there is a high clinical need for cardiovascular invasive specialists. More than 2,100 cardiac catheterization laboratories and more than 600 electrophysiology and pacemaker laboratories operate in the U.S. today. About 8 of 10 jobs are hospital-based.
According to the Department of Labor, employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to increase by 29 percent through the year 2020, much faster than the average for other health care technology occupations. Growth will occur as the population ages because older people have a higher incidence of heart disease and other complications of the heart and vascular system.
Starting salaries for cardiovascular technologists average approximately $40,000 to $42,000 annually. Salary depends upon location and employer.
According to the Department of Labor, median annual earnings of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were $52,070 in May 2012. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,940 and $67,520.