WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Cardiac Ultrasound and Stress Testing Laboratory at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has received full reaccreditation by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories for a third three-year term.
Echocardiography, which provides information about heart structure and blood flow, is useful in detecting and managing many types of heart disease. This noninvasive test has become one of the standard diagnostic tools in cardiology with an estimated 10 million echocardiograms performed annually in the United States.
“Echocardiography lab accreditation means that we are providing the best quality care to our patients,” said Pamela R. Burgess, a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer and clinical manager of the lab.
The lab is fully accredited in:
• Transthoracic echocardiogram - a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. The picture is much more detailed than X-ray image and involves no radiation exposure.
• Transesophageal echocardiography - a test that allows the cardiologist to view the internal structures of the heart and the heart's major vessels by inserting a probe (a thin flexible tube with a special tip) down the throat.
• Stress echocardiography - a test that helps diagnose heart disease with the help of ultrasound images. (A more routine exercise stress test does not use imaging.) Following exercise or other stress to the heart, the images reveal parts of the heart that may not be receiving enough blood or oxygen because of blocked arteries.
The echocardiography lab at Wake Forest Baptist performed more than 46,709 procedures in adult echocardiography in 2004.
The facility is one of the first echocardiography laboratories in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to be recognized for its commitment to high-quality patient care and providing quality diagnostic testing. Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary. Accreditation status signifies that the facility at Wake Forest Baptist has been reviewed by an independent agency that recognizes the lab’s commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disease.
The accreditation commission was established with the support of the American Society of Echocardiography, the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography to provide a peer review mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations by voluntary accreditation.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.