Technical Standards: KU Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Certificate Program

All applicants are required to read the following information because a certificate in Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography will lead to qualifying the holder to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography registry exams and perform all of the duties of a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer.  Therefore, all individuals admitted to the KU Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography program will be asked to verify they have read and understand these technical standards.

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers use complex ultrasound equipment to perform a variety of echocardiographic procedures. Echocardiography is highly valuable diagnostic modality for the evaluation of cardiac anatomy, function, and hemodynamics. The sonographer uses reflected sound waves to image the structures of the heart in real-time motion and Doppler ultrasound to evaluate blood flow in the heart. It is the most commonly used imaging procedure for the diagnosis of heart disease.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, patient interviews, instruction and preparation, quality control testing, execution of patient imaging procedures including: routine and complex echocardiograms, treadmill and pharmacological stress echocardiograms, transesophageal echocardiogram, computer image acquisition and image enhancement, and patient preparation for various procedures. A cardiac sonographer must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cardiac pathology, pathophysiology, and hemodynamics in different disease states. A cardiac sonographer must have an understanding of ultrasound physics and instrumentation. The cardiac sonographer must exhibit professionalism in the performance of these duties, demonstrate an empathetic and instructional approach to patient care, and maintain confidentiality of information as required. Professional growth and development is achieved through participation in medical and technical education and research to enhance the quality of patient care.

Upon successful completion of the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Certificate Program, the graduate should be able to demonstrate entry level competencies in the above areas of the professional practice. Therefore, all applicants who are admitted to the program and become sonographers in training must demonstrate the following abilities and meet the following expectations:

Visual acuity is necessary for watching patient’s vital signs and for accurate image acquisition for all echocardiographic examinations.

Hearing and speech needs to be sufficient to communicate effectively and efficiently with all patients. Communications include not only speech but also reading and writing. The applicant/sonographer in training must be able to:

  • Read and comprehend technical and professional materials.
  • Follow verbal or written instruction in order to correctly and independently perform procedures.
  • Clearly instruct patients prior to and during procedures.
  • Communicate with faculty members, fellow students, staff and other healthcare professionals verbally and in a recorded format (writing, typing, etc.).
  • Independently prepare papers and take examinations.

The applicant/sonographer in training must have manual dexterity and good physical coordination to position patients and operate and transport ultrasound equipment and must have full range of motion, utility of arms, hands and fingers in order to perform examinations and operate equipment. This is also necessary to assist patients on and off examinations tables and to assist patients and other sonographers with lifting patients out of wheel chairs and off carts onto examinations tables when necessary. The applicant/sonographer in training must be able to push the ultrasound equipment (500 pounds) and maneuver this equipment along with patient equipment in the patient’s room.

The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer applicant/student must:

  • Possess these intellectual skills: comprehension, measurement, mathematical calculation, problem solving, reasoning, integration, analysis, comparison, self-expression and criticism.
  • Be able to exercise sufficient judgement to recognize and correct performance deviations.
  • Must be prepared to recognize any condition, whether observed in the echocardiogram or in patient behavior, which may pose immediate threat to health or life and react appropriately.


Behavioral and Social
The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography applicant/student must:

  • Be able to manage time to complete didactic and clinical tasks within realistic time constraints.
  • Possess emotional health necessary to effectively employ intellect and exercise appropriate judgement.
  • Be able to provide professional and technical services in spite of the stresses of heavy workloads.
  • Be flexible, creative and adaptable to clinical and didactic changes.
  • Recognize potentially hazardous materials, equipment and situations and be able to proceed safely to reduce risk of injury to patient or self.
  • Support and promote the activities of fellow students and health care professionals.
  • Be honest, compassionate, ethical and responsible.
  • Always safeguard and preserve the confidentiality of patient information in accordance with office policy.


The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography applicant/student must perform echocardiographic procedures by demonstrating appropriate competency in the following:

  • Obtain appropriate clinical history in order to adapt the imaging techniques accordingly.
  • Patient education.
  • Patient care and management.
  • Record complete physiologic ultrasound exam consisting of 2D, M-mode, pulsed and continuos wave Doppler and color flow imaging, making appropriate quantitative calculations from the data recorded.
  • Perform exercise echocardiography and pharmacological stress testing.
  • Assist in the performance of transesophageal echocardiograms.
  • Determine if contrast injection is indicated, and act accordingly.
  • Equipment configuration and operation.
  • Positioning skills.
  • Ultrasound safety.
It is your responsibility to notify the Admissions Committee and/or Program Director if there is any reason you cannot meet the expectations for the diagnostic cardiac sonography students described above with or without reasonable accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. Applications from candidates whose response indicates that they cannot meet one or more of the expectations will be reviewed further by the Admissions Committee to determine if reasonable accommodations might be possible to facilitate successful completion of the Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography certificate program. This will be done with the applicant along with the faculty and the University of Kansas Equal Opportunity/Disability Specialist.

TTY 711
The University of Kansas is an AA/EO/Title IX institution.

Upon acceptance into the program, students are required to acknowledge they meet these technical standards by signing the technical standards acknowledgement form.

See Also:

KU Medical Center Office of Equal Opportunity

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