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KDMC Launches School of Cardiac Sonography

When King’s Daughters Medical Center encountered a shortage of echocardiographers, the organization decided to do something about it. After all, highly trained professionals are essential to KDMC’s vision of world-class care in our communities.

The new KDMC School of Cardiac Sonography accepted its first class of five students in August. The KDMC program is one of only two cardiac sonography schools in Kentucky, said Cindy Van Horn, program director. Students will complete four semesters of training, graduating in May 2011. Cardiologist Bipin Nagra, M.D., serves as medical director for the school.

Cardiac sonographers use high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce images and collect data regarding heart function (echocardiograms). Cardiologists use the information to diagnose heart disease and make treatment decisions.

Echocardiography has developed over the past 30 years from a supplemental procedure to an essential diagnostic tool in patient care, Van Horn said. Today, echocardiography is the most commonly used imaging procedure for the diagnosis of heart disease.

“Demand for cardiac sonographers is expected to increase by about 19 percent through 2016, a rate faster than the average for all occupations,” Van Horn said. Nationally, the median annual earnings of diagnostic medical sonographers were $57,160 in May 2006, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Our program is designed to provide excellent cardiac education in an environment of compassion and respect, which will prepare our students for careers in echocardiography,” Van Horn said. Students learn the latest techniques and work with today’s most advanced equipment in KDMC’s state-of- the-art diagnostic echo lab, she noted.

“Our students work directly with experienced faculty and have individual support while they are learning and practicing new skills,” she said. The program provides high-quality didactic and clinical experiences needed to create a well-rounded, fully competent diagnostic cardiac sonographer.

Applications for the class of 2012 will be available Jan. 15, 2010. Completed applications are due by April 15, 2010. For additional information, call KDMC at 1.888.377.KDMC.

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