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What You Should Know About Echocardiography Fellowship

What is echocardiography?

Echocardiography is basically a sonogram of the heart. It uses standard two dimensional, three dimensional and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart. Echocardiography has become one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology and is also used in the management and follow up of patients with heart disease or who are suspected to have heart disease. The types of information it can provide include the size and shape of the heart, the pumping capacity of the heart and location of damaged heart tissue. Using Stress echocardiography can determine if chest pains and other symptoms felt by patients are related to heart disease. As it is a non-invasive procedure which doesn’t break the skin or enter body cavities it has an advantage over some other procedures and there are no side effects or risks known of when used. There are several different ways to perform an echocardiography with the transthoracic echocardiogram being the most common. Used in this way the probe is placed directly against the chest of the patient and a picture of the heart is taken through the chest wall. This results in a quick non-invasive procedure that is quite accurate. Besides, you may know more about cardiology fellowship personal statement on our site.

Echocardiography fellowships

Physicians who perform echocardiography procedures usually will have been trained in one of two different ways. In some cases echocardiography will be part of the training in a cardiovascular disease fellowship program. The other method is to participate in an echocardiography fellowship program, although echocardiography fellowship programs are not ACGME accredited. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have developed a clinical competency statement that establishes some guidelines to be met for a fellowship in echocardiography. Currently physicians must be certified by the National Board of Echocardiography to read or perform echocardiograms. The ACC/AHA strongly recommend following certification standards set forth by the NBE.

Future of echocardiography

To all appearances it would seem that the demand for physicians with echocardiography accreditation will only increase in the near future. The United States has an aging population and a high degree of obesity, with over 80 million people estimated to have some type of heart problem. Advances are still being made and the non-intrusive nature of echocardiograms, as well as the quickness and ease with which some tests can be performed makes it very popular. The average salary of a cardiologist who has completed an echocardiography fellowship based on figures from Medical Group Management Association is over $400,000 annually which gives some indication of the demand. Looking at the years invested in training, with medical school, residency and fellowship training and sub-specialization training it may appear they have some catching up to do. For those interested in an echocardiography fellowship it is recommended to keep up with advances in cardiovascular imaging to avoid getting caught if trends change.