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What is a Vascular Sonographer?

By Katriena Knights
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sonography is a highly specialized form of diagnostics that makes use of ultrasound technology to diagnose certain ailments. Sonograms work by emitting sound waves into the body, then using the reflections of these sound waves to create an image. This technology allows a doctor or surgeon to look inside the patient's body without performing any invasive procedures.

The sonogram is most commonly known as a tool for observing the growth of a baby in utero, but an ultrasound technician often is called upon to perform sonograms for many other purposes. A vascular sonographer is an ultrasound technician who specializes in using this specialized medical equipment to help diagnose problems in the cardiovascular system. Because of the growing prevalence of cardiovascular disease and the overall aging of the population, the job of vascular sonographer is an important one and has contributed greatly to the efficiency of cardiology in general.

In conjunction with a doctor or surgeon, a vascular sonographer uses sonograms to look at the blood vessels and arteries and determine if there are any irregularities such as inflammation or blockage. The skills of the sonographer often are called into play when a doctor wishes to determine if a patient with high or borderline high cholesterol is suffering from any signs of heart disease or atherosclerosis. By observing the arteries, particularly the aorta, through an ultrasound, the vascular sonographer can help the doctor decide whether more aggressive treatment is necessary for that patient.

In addition to observing the cardiovascular system for signs of inflammation or atherosclerosis, the vascular sonographer also can look for signs of aneurysms, blood clots and other cardiovascular issues, including problems that can lead to strokes. Because their work is so important to the doctor and the patient, a vascular sonographer often receives a higher salary than other types of sonographers. The job of vascular sonographer also is highly specialized.

Using the medical equipment involved in vascular sonography requires extensive training and experience. The sonographer must be able to interpret what he or she is seeing as the sonogram is performed. Only through correct interpretation and careful use of the sonogram can a vascular sonographer determine whether the patient is suffering from any symptoms of cardiovascular disease. High-quality results depend on excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to quickly and accurately interpret visual data. Overall, the job can be quite demanding, but it also can provide a great deal of satisfaction.

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