What does a radiographer do?

Job title: Radiographer

Where you’ll meet them

Radiographers work across many areas of hospitals, including the cardiology department and catheter lab, and sometimes in surgeries or clinics.

What they’ll do

Radiographers carry out a range of diagnostic tests, including X-rays of your chest, CT or MRI scans, and sometimes echocardiograms (though these are more often done by a cardiac physiologist). They play a key role in angiograms and angioplasty procedures, helping the cardiologist to get the pictures he needs to carry out the procedure.

How you’ll recognise them

Often a uniform such as a tunic, or theatre scrubs if they’re working in the catheter lab, and sometimes a protective apron.

Making the most of them

Ask any questions you may have – ideally before or after the procedure, rather than during it, when the team may be concentrating.

Training

Three year degree in diagnostic imaging. A sonographer is a radiographer with further specialist training in ultrasound.

What they say

Sean O’Conaire, Superintendent Radiographer in the catheter lab at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, says: “We do a lot of emergency work, where the patient comes in with a heart attack, and it’s nice that you can see the results. When an angioplasty is carried out, by the end of the procedure they are already looking a lot better and feeling a lot better and their chest pain is nearly gone.”

Read our introduction to imaging techniques and why you should beware private screening

Read about cardiac MRI scans

Read more about CT scans of the heart

Get our guide to 10 questions to ask your healthcare professional

Related publications

More useful information