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Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Cardiac Imaging Laboratory Earns Prestigious Certification From Leading National Organization

The Heart Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has been accredited by a national organization as a top pediatric echocardiography laboratory, providing state-of-the-art, non-invasive imaging of the heart to assist in the diagnosis of congenital heart defects in children.

Children's Heart Center has become only the second pediatric echocardiography lab in Pennsylvania and one of only 45 pediatric institutions in the United States to be accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). Accreditation from the ICAEL means an institution has met a rigorous set of criteria and is recognized as one of the country's leading echocardiography centers.

Echocardiography is a complex imaging technique that relies on the experience and specialized training of both a cardiologist and sonographer. It is an ultrasound of the heart that offers cardiologists a non-invasive option to get an accurate view of a patient's heart, enabling them to better diagnose a defect.

"The ICAEL sets the highest standards for image quality and the accuracy of ultrasound images," said Curt DeGroff, MD, director of Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging at Children's. "Obtaining ICAEL accreditation is a daunting and time-consuming task. The requirements for accreditation of pediatric centers exceed the requirements for adult echocardiography labs and require both additional imaging and interpretation expertise because of unique pediatric conditions. Our Heart Center sonographers and echocardiographers are among the most experienced and skilled in the nation, giving our patients and families the most timely and accurate tests possible."

The ICAEL is a nonprofit organization established in 1996 with the support of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE).

Completion of the application for accreditation requires information on all aspects of laboratory operation as well as the submission of actual case studies for review. The application then undergoes a confidential peer-review by the ICAEL's trained reviewers, including both physicians and sonographers, before a final decision is made by the Board of Directors.

"The physicians and staff of the Echocardiography Laboratory at Children's are highly skilled and trained. Their expertise ensures that they are also extremely experienced in recognizing pediatric heart conditions," said Steven A. Webber, MBChB, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Children's. "The ICAEL accreditation is a testament to the commitment, dedication and experience of our Heart Center staff."

Approximately 9,000 transthoracic and 430 transesophageal echocardiography studies are performed each year at Children's.

Learn more about Children's Heart Center

Learn more about Children's Echocardiography Laboratory

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
September 9, 2009
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Last Update
September 9, 2009