Echo OK at UCH

ICAEL OKs UCH echo lab

October 1, 1998

The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation for Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) has granted accreditation to the echocardiography laboratory at the University of Chicago Hospitals, one of the first centers in the United States and Canada--and the first in the Chicago area--to gain this coveted recognition of diagnostic accuracy.

Echocardiography is a standard heart-imaging test, now performed an estimated 10 million times a year in the U.S. This non-invasive scan uses sound waves to reveal valuable information about the heart's structure, movements, and blood flow. Echocardiographic testing is useful in the detection, diagnosis, and management of many types of heart disease.

"We are proud to be one of the first U.S. centers to gain accreditation in this complex specialty," said Roberto Lang, MD, professor of medicine and director of the echocardiography laboratory at the University of Chicago, "and we welcome a new level of quality control to the field."

The ICAEL, based in Columbia, Maryland, was established with the support of the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography to provide a peer review mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations. Participation in the process is voluntary.

The University of Chicago echocardiography laboratory has long been recognized as a leader in the field for both research and clinical expertise. Faculty there--including Lang and Kirk Spencer, MD, associate director of the lab--have pioneered the use of computer systems that can distinguish between normal and abnormal heart movements, the use of echocardiographic contrast agents, and most recently, the development of high-frequency minutely detailed imaging systems that can even be used to study the cardiac activity of a mouse heart, which beats ten times as fast but is less than one percent the size of a human heart.

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