If you’re considering a career as a sonographer, you’ve likely encountered two main options: general diagnostic medical sonography and cardiac sonography. But what is the difference between the two, and which should you choose? To help you understand the differences between general sonography and cardiac sonography, here is a brief overview of each.

General Sonography

General sonography, more often known as diagnostic medical sonography, encompasses several types of sonography but focuses mainly on sonography in the abdominal area. A general sonographer may image abdominal organs, reproductive organs, or parts of the vascular system, among others. One common example of a job a diagnostic medical sonographer would perform is an ultrasound of an unborn infant to monitor its growth and health. Beyond this, though, there are many other specialized jobs that this type of sonographer could perform.

Cardiac Sonography

Cardiac sonography, also called echocardiography, requires the same basic skills as general sonography but focuses specifically on imaging the heart. Cardiac sonographers will typically be well versed in the cardiovascular system as a whole but will generally focus imaging on the heart itself. A cardiac sonographer will be able to provide a 2-D or 3-D image of the heart, called an echocardiogram, and identify any conditions within it or its chambers.

Which Should You Choose?

In function, general sonography and cardiac sonography are quite similar. The main difference is in which parts of the body you will be imaging. If you’ve always found the heart fascinating, you may be more interested in cardiac sonography, while if you’d like to specialize in and perform a wider variety of ultrasounds, general sonography would be the better choice for you. When making your decision, you should also consider the necessary schooling for each. The requirements are quite similar, but a general sonography program often requires a little more time to complete, as you’ll need to study a wider range of the body in detail than if you studied cardiac sonography.

Whichever option you choose after taking into consideration the differences between general sonography and cardiac sonography, you’ll benefit from quality medical equipment. Because of the repetitive movements involved in the job, sonographers are prone to certain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and strains in the neck and back. Every sonographer should have a good ergonomic ultrasound chair, and Medical Positioning can provide just that. Stay comfortable and safe while performing the job you love.