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Echocardiography refers to the use of ultrasound to assess cardiovascular anatomy and hemodynamics. A cardiac sonographer who is specially trained in the field of echocardiography performs the exam, working closely with patients throughout the procedure.
Cardiac sonographers operate ultrasound equipment that collects reflected echoes and Doppler signals from images and spectral tracings of the heart. They use 2-D and/or 3-D images to assess the cardiac structures and Doppler tracings to assess cardiac hemodynamics.
Cardiac sonographers and physicians work as a team during the echo procedure to accurately integrate data for optimal diagnoses.
Employment of cardiac sonographers is expected to grow much faster than average through the year 2022. Growth will occur as the population ages because the elderly have a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Career opportunities will expand as advances in echocardiography reduce the need for more costly and invasive procedures.
Hospitals will remain the principal employers of cardiac sonographers. Additional job growth will occur in physicians' offices, clinics and diagnostic imaging centers due to increases in outpatient care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual income for an echocardiographer in 2013 was $67,170. This salary depends on location and employer.