Cardiac Physiology Technician

Cardiac physiology technicians work in a hospital or outpatieExercise Stress Systemnt clinic setting and perform diagnostic tests to help physicians diagnose problems with the heart and lungs.

This role provides a wide range of technical services within the Cardiac Physiology department. Cardiac physiology technicians perform patient-related non-invasive cardiac procedures.

This role works collaboratively with other clinical team members including cardiologists and cardiac physiologists within the department, to provide an effective and efficient service for patients.

A technicians main duty is performing Electrocardiographs (ECG), including recognition and interpretation of arrhythmias, exercise tolerance stress testing (ETT), holter monitor application and removal, spirometry (simple lung function test), and various administrative duties specific to the Cardiac Physiology department.

Electrocardiograph (ECG)

This is a relatively simple and quick procedure that records the electrical activity of the heart. This test provides valuable information about the heart rate and rhythm, and also indirect information about the hearts structure and function.

Exercise Tolerance Testing (ETT)

The role for the cardiac physiology technician is to assist the doctors, nurses and cardiac physiologists in the exercise treadmill lab. The test involves setting up patients with a 12 Lead ECG and a blood pressure cuff for monitoring physiological changes whilst the patient is exercising on the treadmill.

Communication and patient awareness are essential attributes that will help a cardiac technician explain exercise protocols and what will occur during the procedure. Educating and ensuring the patient is comfortable will help reduce any anxiety the patient may have.

Holter Monitor

Holter monitor is a test used to diagnose rhythm problems of the heart. If a person is experiencing palpitations, dizzy spells or other cardiac symptoms it is often very useful to correlate these with the heart rhythm at the time.

Cardiac physiology technicians apply and remove the monitor, providing instructions on how to document daily activities over a 24hr or 48hr period.

Spirometry

Spirometry is the timed measurement of dynamic lung volumes, during forced expiration and inspiration. This technique is uses to quantify how effectively and how quickly the lungs can be emptied and filled. Lung volumes are useful for differentiating types of lung disease characterised by airflow limitation.

Spirometry Training

The spirometry course is run outside of SCT by an independent respiratory physician.

The aim of the training is to enable technicians to understand the concepts of spirometry and to apply good spirometry practice. This includes measurement, interpretation and quality assurance.

The training course includes theoretical and practical components based on self-directed learning. The core components of the course are based on recommendation by Australia New Zealand Society of Respiratory Science (ANZSRS) standard practice guidelines.

Entry Requirements for the Training Programme

  • Employed in a technical capacity
  • Level 2 National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • Eligible for enrolment in CPM
  • Passes in English, Maths and Science at year 12.
  • An understanding of human anatomy and physiology
  • Interest in patient related procedures

Structure of the Training Programme

Cardiac physiology technicians are trained whilst employed by a District Health Board. It is a requirement that new employee’s undertake Certificate in Physiological Measurement (CPM); a one year full time course that is guided by the SCT.

An allocated supervisor that is a qualified cardiac technician or cardiac physiologist who has at least 5 years’ experience will oversee training.

CPM is self-learning based; where students need to complete worksheets, workplace assessments/experience and an ECG portfolio. It is compulsory to attend the workshop block weekend and pass the ECG test and ECG practical assessment in order to be eligible to sit the final exam.