A cardiology technologist plays a vital role in diagnosis and treatment for heart-related medical treatments. Cardiac or cardiology technologists work under the direction of the cardiac surgeon or other cardiac health professionals.
In this field of health science, the emphasis is on helping doctors identify and treat a wide range of medical issues that can affect patients’ heart and blood vessels. By identifying heart disease and aiding in treating patients who have it, cardiology technologists work on the front lines of health care.
According to the stats from Heart and Stroke Foundation,
- About 158,700 (6.1 per 1,000) Canadian adults aged 20 years and older received a new diagnosis of ischemic heart disease. Specifically, about 63,200 (2.3 per 1,000) adults had a first heart attack.
- Approximately 92,900 (5.2 per 1,000) Canadian adults aged 40 years and older received a new heart failure diagnosis.
Professionals working in this field contribute to the well-being of other people by using specialized medical equipment.
According to Job Bank Canada, the arrival of new medical technologies, the introduction of advanced equipment and ageing population will increase the demand for cardiovascular diagnostic services.
What is Cardiology Technologist?
Cardiology technologists are defined as healthcare professionals who use advanced equipment to diagnose and treat patients with heart disease or other circulatory system disorders.
This profession is usually confused with cardiovascular technologist or cardiovascular sonography technologist. There are a variety of job titles in this field which can lead to confusion. To get a better understanding, you need to understand the two major areas: Non-invasive and invasive cardiovascular technology.
Non-invasive cardiology technology is mainly about conducting diagnostic checks on patients’ hearts without placing any objects or medical instruments inside the body. On the other hand, invasive technology primarily helps cardiac surgeons treat and diagnose patients by minor surgical procedures.
The work titles in this area may also be categorized as describing as either non-invasive or invasive procedures. Job titles that are commonly associated with the non-invasive procedure include:
- Cardiology technologist
- Cardiology technician/tech
- Cardiac technician
- Cardiovascular technologist/technician
- Non-invasive cardiovascular technician
- Cardiac stress technologist
- Electrocardiography (ECG) technologist
- Echocardiographic technician (or cardiac sonographer)
Job titles that are commonly associated with invasive procedures include:
- Invasive cardiovascular technologist
- Cardiovascular invasive specialist
- Cardiac catheterization technologist
- Cardiac catheterization technician
What do Cardiology Technologists do?
Depending on the specific role, the job of non-invasive cardiology technologist can include the use of electronic equipment, such as:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machines: Such devices are used to measure how well a patient’s heart is functioning by monitoring their electrical activity. The machine records the rhythms and electrical activity of a patient’s heart for a few minutes. ECG recordings can help diagnose conditions such as current or recent heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, heart enlargement, arterial blockage, heart inflammation, pulmonary disease and electrolyte imbalances.
- Holter monitoring devices: Also known as ambulatory ECG devices, records the rhythms and electric activity of a patient’s heart for a few minutes.
- Pacemakers: Cardiology technologists can also reprogram these small devices inserted in the patient’s heart to monitor their irregular heartbeats. Each pacemaker can be programmed based on the medical requirements. This process can be done wirelessly.
- Exercise tolerance testing: Also known as stress testing, cardiology techs perform tests on their patients’ heart’s ability while on the treadmill or stationary bike. This diagnostic technique is mainly used to determine the degree of coronary artery disease in a patient, which occurs when blood vessels become too small. The flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart is limited.
- Ultrasound/Sonography Machines: Mostly used by cardiovascular sonographers, these devices use high-pitched sound waves to produce video images that illustrate blood flow into different areas of the heart. They can be used to analyze heart valves and chambers’ operation or to detect irregular heart murmurs, blood clots, tumors, and more.
- Invasive cardiovascular techs perform advanced procedures and require high training as it involves inserting medical instruments and devices into the patients’ body. Cardiovascular catheterization allows cardiac surgeons to administer critical diagnostic tests or treatments without more radical surgery.
Depending on the requirement and hospital/clinic policy, invasive cardiovascular technologist also assists surgeons during operations to implement ICDs, pacemakers, and CRT devices.
As part of their duties, technologist also needs to prepare patients and equipment, monitor vital signs and respond to emergency and complicated situations effectively.
The difference in Cardiology Technologist and Cardiovascular Sonographer
The big difference in both professions is the use of equipment. Although related, cardiology tech focuses on machines such as an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and Holter monitoring devices. The focus of diagnosis is the heart. Also, the study time to become a cardiology tech is less.
The cardiovascular sonographer uses ultrasound/sonography machines, which produces high-res video images using high-pitched sound waves. The focus is on both heart and blood vessels through which the blood flows. The course is usually two-years long and is rewarding financially.
Cardiology Technologist Salary in Canada
The average wage for cardiology technologists in Canada is $27.63/hour. This wage varies based on where you are working. The average salary of professionals working in Ontario is $25/hour, Alberta is $35.83/hour and in British Columbia is $33.64/hour.
Cardiovascular Sonography Technologist Salary in Canada
The median wage for cardiovascular sonographers in Canada is $38/hour. Ontario has an average salary of $36.80/hour, Alberta is $48/hour, and British Columbia professionals can earn an average wage of $38.70/hour.
Cardiovascular Technologist Program Requirements in Ontario
The requirements to be eligible for the program vary widely. It could include an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent, with grade 12 English, math and science course. Other requirements may have First Aid and CPR certification, up-to-date immunizations and background checks.
Most health care professions in Canada are regulated, and graduates need to get certified in the field.
- To become a cardiology technologist in Canada, you need to be certified by the Canadian Society of Cardiology Technologists.
- For sonography-related professions in Canada, Sonography Canada has to be approved in the specialty areas.
BizTech College’s Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography is a unique program that offers learning in echocardiography and vascular modalities. Graduates are eligible to write exams for two credentials – Cardiac Sonographer and Vascular Sonographer by Sonography Canada.
Apart from didactic and clinical knowledge, the program includes clinical placements, which help them gain much-needed practical exposure in a real-life clinical setting. Program is designed to prepare students for the credentials mentioned above.
Do you see yourself working in this rewarding career? Contact admission to know about the program, career opportunities and more.