Exam Overview

Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS)

Examination Matrix

This examination matrix is provided to illustrate the general distribution of questions and the relative weight or emphasis given to a skill or content area on the examination.

Content Category Approximate % of Examination
A. Preparing for Echocardiographic Procedure 5%
B. Performing Echocardiographic Imaging 23%
C. Evaluating Echocardiographic Findings 49%
D. Completing Post-Procedural Activities 7%
E. Applying the Physics of Ultrasound 16%
Total 100%

Knowledge List

The list below describes general areas of knowledge that are needed in order to perform the tasks identified. This knowledge will apply across multiple tasks.

Basic Life Support (BLS)
Basic math skills (formulas, exponents,
decimals, scientific notation)
Basic pharmacology
Cardiac abnormalities
Cardiac embryology
Cardiovascular anatomy
General anatomy
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
History and physical
Medical ethics
Medical terminology
Physiologic maneuvers
QA procedures
Recognize basic cardiac anatomy obtained
using other imaging modalities
Safety practices for patients and staff
Ultrasound instrumentation
Ultrasound physics
Ultrasound modalities:
  • 3-D
  • Doppler (spectral, tissue, and color)
  • Contrast
  • M-mode
  • Stress testing (pharmacological and physiologic)
  • TEE

Universal precautions/infection control

Task List

The task list below describes the activities which a Registered Cardiac Sonographer is expected to perform on the job. All examination questions are linked to these tasks.

Duties and Tasks % of Exam
A Preparing for Echocardiographic Procedure 5%
1 Verify echocardiographic order  
2 Prepare echocardiographic patient  
3 Prepare echocardiographic equipment  
B Performing Echocardiographic Imaging 23%
1 Perform 2D echo  
2 Perform M-mode  
3 Perform color Doppler  
4 Perform spectral Doppler  
5 Perform contrast echocardiography  
6 Perform exercise echocardiography  
7 Perform pharmacological echocardiography  
8 Assist with transesophageal echocardiography  
C Evaluating Echocardiographic Findings 49%
1 Identify normal anatomy, physiology, and hemodynamics  
2 Evaluate cardiac chambers  
3 Evaluate heart failure  
4 Evaluate cardiomyopathies  
5 Evaluate diastolic function  
6 Assess ischemic heart disease  
7 Assess aortic valve  
8 Assess mitral valve  
9 Assess tricuspid valve  
Duties and Tasks % of Exam
10 Assess pulmonic valve  
11 Evaluate pericardial disease  
12 Evaluate great vessels  
13 Evaluate diseases of the aorta  
14 Evaluate pulmonary hypertension  
15 Evaluate cardiac masses  
16 Recognize congenital heart disease  
D Completing Post-Procedural Activities 7%
1 Transfer echocardiographic data  
2 Document echocardiographic findings  
3 Communicate with healthcare team  
4 Provide post-examination instructions  
E Applying the Physics of Ultrasound 16%
1 Identify properties of ultrasound waveforms  
2 Recognize artifacts  
3 Identify properties of transducers  
4 Optimize resolution  
5 Optimize frame rate  
6 Optimize Doppler waveforms  
7 Optimize color Doppler  
8 Optimize 2D image  
Total   100%
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