An EKG technician operates the electrocardiogram machine to conduct the vital cardiovascular health test of a patient. The role of an EKG technician may be referred to by many different names. Some of the popular titles include Cardiac Technician, CG Technician (Electrocardiogram Technician), and Cardiopulmonary Technician.
An EKG Technician is trained to operate the designated medical equipment which diagnoses the health of a person’s cardiovascular system. He attaches electrodes to predefined points on a patient’s chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes lead to an electrocardiogram machine, from which the EKG Technician takes a reading. This reading is used by a cardiovascular specialist to make initial decisions regarding the cardiovascular health of the patient, and decide a course of treatment, if required.
The Tools of the Trade
The EKG Technician understands the use of various monitors, gadgets and machines to complete his/ her work. Not all the machines are used directly by the EKG Technician. But he/she has a knowledge of these machines, understands their use, and helps the institution in managing these equipment. Let’s take a look at a few important ones:
Cardiac Output Monitoring:
- Hemodynamic Monitors: Invasive measurement of systemic, pulmonary arterial and venous pressures, and cardiac output
- Physiological Monitoring and Analysis Systems: Measuring display waveform and numerical data for various parameters such as ECG, respiratory rate, non-invasive and invasive blood pressure etc.
- Thermodilution Cardiac Output Computers: Thermodilution is a popularly accepted method for measuring the cardiac output
Cardiac Pacemaker Generators:
- Pacemaker Analyzer: Tests the overall performance of pacemakers
- Silicone lead end caps: Useful in conducting various pulmonary and cardiovascular tests
- Ventricular Demand Pacemakers: Settings on a pacemaker to detect ventricle depolarization
- Caval Filters / Vena Caval Filters: These are implanted by surgeons in a patient to prevent life-threatening pulmonary emboli
Vascular Catheters or Sets:
- Angiojets: Perform catheter-based procedure for thrombolysis (breaking down potentially life-threatening blood clots)
- Grollman or Pigtail Catheter: Used for removing arterial clots
- Rotoblator: A diamond-tipped burr which is inserted inside the body to remove calcified or hardened plaque in the artery walls.
Medical PACS (Picture Archiving Computer Systems)
- Image Capturing & Transmission: Digital storage and transmission of medical images in DICOM format to minimize need of physical files and storage
- Image Storage Systems: Archives that store and assist in on-demand retrieval of images
- Scan Convertors: Convert video / pictures in to a compatible format for computer screen based display.
The role of an EKG Technician is becoming more challenging with the advent and growth of new technology. However, it also makes the role of an EKG Technician increasingly important in healthcare. EKG Technicians who become complacent may face redundancy; while EKG Technicians who keep themselves well-trained and abreast of new developments will have an ever-growing demand of their well-paying skillsets.