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Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography

Occupational Description

An advanced cardiovascular sonographer (ACS) is a highly skilled professional qualified by education, experience, and certification.  The ACS works directly under physician supervision, applying clinical knowledge to the echocardiography examination to ensure that all information is obtained from the exam to answer the clinical question.  

Job Description

The ACS professional renders a unique and essential service beyond technical performance.   The role of an ACS includes the following but is not limited to: assisting staff sonographers during routine and complex echo exams to ensure necessary data is acquired according to patient clinical history and presentation; reviews studies and provide a preliminary report to the interpreting physician; provides in-service education for staff sonographers on applications to be incorporated in echo exams, and establishes quality assurance measures to maintain the highest standards of care of a lab by closely monitoring sonographers’ performance and training needs.

Employment Characteristics

Advanced cardiovascular sonographers (ACS) may be employed in hospitals, as well as employees of a group practice.  They typically work during the weekdays but depending on needs of the practice may work alternative shifts.

Patients will be better served by echocardiography labs using the services of Advanced Cardiovascular Sonographers (ACS) who have the education, training and experience to review echocardiographic examinations and provide more consistent measurements and potentially accurate cardiac diagnostic information for interpreting physicians. Clinical practice will be enhanced by improvements to the quality of the examinations and by the availability of professionals who can assist with the teaching and incorporation of advancements in the field into daily practice.

Educational Programs

Length:  Programs are generally 16-18 months in length, depending on the program design, objectives, prerequisites, and student qualifications.  Certificate programs must ensure that the graduates of the program have obtained or will obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and a cardiac sonography or vascular specialist/technologist entry-level technical credential upon completion of the program.
 
Prerequisites. Prerequisites vary depending on the length and design of the program. The student entering the program should hold a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent educational credits) and a sonographer credential (RDCS/RCS).

Curriculum. Curriculum for an ACS will include advanced cardiovascular hemodynamics/physiology/pathophysiology; acquired heart disease in the adult; surgical and medical options, new ultrasound technologies, including contract agents, comparative imaging analysis; research methods and biostatics, pharmacology; curriculum and instruction for the adult learner; and a clinical internship.

Certification/Registration

National Certification Examination
Cardiovascular Credentialing International
Website:
  www.cci-online.org

Careers/Curriculum

American Society of Echocardiography
2100 Gateway Centre Blvd., Suite 310
Morriville, NC 27560
919-861-5574

Websitewww.asecho.org

Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers 
1401 Rockville Pike, Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20852
301-738-8401/800-541-9754

Website: www.sdms.org