Cardiac cath technology refers to technology used in cardiac catheterization, which is an invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure. Courses in cardiac cath technology are typically part of an associate degree program in cardiovascular technology and are offered by community and technical colleges.
Coursework covers anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and how to work with other healthcare professionals. Special emphasis is placed on the understanding of blood movement and common heart defects. Students are also required to complete a clinical practice course to get real-world experience.
Here are some common concepts taught in cardiac cath technology courses:
- Evaluation, diagnosis and treatments
- Systems of the body
- Emergency procedures
- Cardiac diseases
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List of Common Courses
Anatomy and Physiology of the Cardiovascular System
The first course in a cardiac cath curriculum teaches cardiac anatomy and physiology. Students learn to identify the parts of the human heart and understand basic cardiac hemodynamics (blood movement) and electrophysiology. Common defects of the heart are discussed in this course.
Cardiac Catheterization Technology
The cath lab is where catheterization takes place. In this course students tour the lab and become familiar with the technologies used by cardiac physicians and cardiac cath technologists. Students are taught proper use of equipment such as X-ray for ateriography. Cath lab emergency procedures are reviewed.
Introduction to Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac cath students take this course concurrently with other introductory courses in the first semester. Students learn to use non-invasive cardiac technology and to evaluate images from arteriograms. An introduction to the invasive catheterization techniques includes patient preparation and positioning.
Intermediate Cardiac Cath
After successfully completing introductory cardiac cath and cath technology courses, students may take this more intensive course covering percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, a catheterization procedure used to clear obstructions in arteries. Skills taught include calculating blood volumes in parts of the heart, life support and emergency life support procedures. Cardiac pharmacology may be included in this course.
Advanced Cath Technology
Advanced uses of cardiac catheterization on adults and children are taught in this course. Technology reviewed includes heart and lung machine, pediatric catheters, shunts and the intra-aortic balloon pump.
Clinical Cardiovascular Technology
In this clinical course, students apply the knowledge they have gained in previous courses to clinical issues, while also learning the essential requirements of being a cardiac cath technologist. Students work with patients under direct supervision of a clinical specialist, while also learning the legal and ethical issues surrounding cardiac cath technology work. Focus is on teamwork and appropriate communication.