Children's echocardiography laboratory earns prestigious accreditation

The echocardiography laboratory at Children's was granted accreditation in November for transthoracic, transesophageal and fetal studies from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiographic Laboratories. The accreditation acknowledges that Children's is meeting or exceeding the standard of excellence for all types of pediatric echocardiographic studies.

The ICAEL has certified 48 pediatric labs in the country. Among these, only 27 are certified for fetal studies and only 14 for transesophageal studies. Children's is one of only two pediatric echocardiography labs in Texas accredited by the ICAEL.

"All parents of children with heart disease and expectant mothers who want an evaluation for possible heart disease in their unborn children should ensure that echocardiographic evaluation is performed in a facility with ICAEL accreditation," said William Scott, M.D., chief of Cardiology. "Children's is the only pediatric lab in the region with this certification."

Echocardiography is a vital tool in the assessment of congenital and acquired heart disease. Accurate and detailed evaluation of the heart is essential for optimal management of the child or unborn fetus with congenital heart disease. Congenital heart defects often are complex, and accurate echocardiographic studies require a dedicated laboratory with skilled technicians and physicians who have received extended training in the procedures. Fetal echocardiography is particularly complex since the developing heart is smaller and more distant inside the mothers womb.

The ICAEL formulates standards for echocardiographic laboratories to promote high quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations in the delivery of healthcare. The four major societies that compose the commission are the American Society of Echocardiography, the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography.