Cath Lab Technologist

Insert a catheter into patients' hearts to diagnose disease.

What does a Cath Lab Technologist do?

Symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, can be caused by a blockage of the arteries, a pumping problem with the heart, or basic indigestion. Specialized tests using very small needles, catheters, a tiny amount of dye, and an X-ray can help Cardiologists determine what’s causing those symptoms. Cath Lab Technologists help the Cardiologist run those tests.

When a patient arrives for testing, the Cath Lab Technologist prepares them for the procedure by disinfecting their skin. Dressed in scrubs, a cap, and gloves, you – the Cath Lab Technologist – head into the procedure room. Once there, you make sure that all of the equipment the Cardiologist needs is in the room, and that it’s operating properly.

Once the patient is under anesthesia, the testing begins. You hand equipment to the Cardiologist, monitor the patient’s vital signs and heart readings carefully, and write those readings down in their chart. If you notice something amiss, such as an irregular heartbeat or a dip in blood pressure, you notify the Cardiologist immediately.

Sometimes, the problem may be so serious that the Cardiologist must perform surgery right away. You don’t panic in these situations; instead, you find the additional tools and equipment the Cardiologist needs, and continue to monitor the patient while the surgery is underway.

You spend a lot of time with people who are ill and frightened, and they may not always be nice. But as a result of the testing that you help perform, they may get the treatment they need.